Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Annual Battle With Hornworms

Well it is time for my yearly battle against hornworms and their hellbent mission to destroy my tomato crop. These nasty little caterpillars can overnight transform a healthy tomato plant into looking like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. Hornworms are the caterpillar stage of the Hawkmoth. They grow very large, are very green and very "juicy" as they pop if you squeeze them in your hand.

Here is a picture of the little buggers:
Needless to say they are difficult to spot because of their color...you will know they are there because you will see visible chewed spots on your plants and see their tell-tale little droppings which look little little dark colored pellets. I was gonna try the old dish liquid/water or oil/water mixture sprayed on the plants but I am tired of these little bastards and I ordered some Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer With BT - 8 oz Concentrate #5160.

This stuff contains Bacillus Thuringiensis which is a safe and natural way to control them. You apply it in the late afternoon to the plants, and when the hornworms ingest this stuff they are dead with 4 hours. I will let you know how this stuff works and how I make out in my battle. If you don't have too bad of an infestation you can pick them off plants and cut them in half or drown them in water. Me personally...my dog loves em, so I feed them to her. She is also smart enough to spot them herself and I have seen her gently remove them using her teeth from my plants (My God she is a smart little thing).

I am just worried because I will be away for a few days and in that time I could come home to nothing but stems. So how are your battles with garden pests going?

Comment and let me know...

...that is all.

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1 comment:

  1. Bacillus Thuringiensis or BT, is great for tomato worms. I've used it since the 1980's. I use mostly the dust in a pump duster. It also works for cabbage worms and tent catapillers in trees. Thats when I get out the pressure sprayer to blast the nests high in the trees. Frank from Indiana