The first, smaller tomato hornworm I foundThe first, smaller tomato hornworm I found
The horn of said hornworm. Icky creatures, but check out the detail of their patterning.The horn of said hornworm. Icky creatures, but check out the detail of their patterning.
The Big Momma tomato hornworm where I found it on the plantThe Big Momma tomato hornworm where I found it on the plant
The horrid creature that is the tomato hornwormThe horrid creature that is the tomato hornworm
  • The first, smaller tomato hornworm I found
  • The horn of said hornworm. Icky creatures, but check out the detail of their patterning.
  • The Big Momma tomato hornworm where I found it on the plant
  • The horrid creature that is the tomato hornworm

That sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, doesn’t it?

So I’ve heard about tomato hornworms. I’ve seen pictures of them. I’ve heard horror stories about them defoliating entire plants overnight. But, thankfully I had never seen one in real life.

Until this past weekend. <dun dun dun>

One morning I thought I would take a nice relaxing look around the garden. I think it’s therapeutic to see how things are growing and developing. This particular morning, though, it was less than therapeutic.

I was looking around the Romas when I noticed it: a tomato hornworm. It wasn’t especially big (which is good), but it was there. I also noticed the damage it had done to the tomato leaves, and the other tell-tale sign of a hornworm: its droppings. Urrgh.

I didn’t know what to do with it, so I picked off the leaf it was on and took it in to show Charlie. I was too grossed and creeped out by the thing to touch it and couldn’t even get up the guts to stomp on it. Charlie suggested putting it in a paper bag and stomping on it. That I could do.

So I took my handy-dandy paper bag (which was in the compost scrap bowl to be turned into worm food) and took the icky thing back outside where it could meet its demise. And it did.

Knowing that where there’s one there could be more, though, I took another close look at my tomato plants. Guess what I found. Another, bigger, badder, fatter, ickier nasty nasty tomato hornworm. Agggh!

I have seriously never been so icked out by a bug. Fast-moving bugs like spiders occasionally take me by surprise, but I don’t usually have a problem with stomping on them or taking them outside (or calling for my wonderful husband to deal with them).

Tomato hornworms, though, are huge. And they’re squishy. I was just imagining stomping on it and getting its squishiness all over my shoes. Uggghhh.

So, I reclaimed my well-stomped on paper bag and added the big momma worm, where it met its demise.

I then did a thorough go-over of the tomatoes to make sure I hadn’t missed any. The two I got rid of had done some damage to the tops of three Roma plants, but thankfully nothing too extensive. The Purple Cherokees and the sungold cherries didn’t look like they’d been touched.

Ugh. Creeped. Me. Out. Has anyone else had an attack of the hornworms?

5 Responses to “Attack of the hornworms”

  1. Megan
    23 August 2010 at 8:05 am #

    If you don’t want to deal with stomping on them, you can toss them in a container with a bit of water and dish soap. Less mess!

  2. CoMo Homestead
    23 August 2010 at 9:17 am #

    Good to know, thanks!

  3. A
    31 August 2010 at 8:09 am #

    Hornworms are disgusting!
    Paper bag works well or clear plastic bag so squashing them barefoot works since you can see them but not get the goo all over the feet. My wife squishes em under flip-flops, they squirt like grapes.

  4. CoMo Homestead
    31 August 2010 at 8:53 am #

    Yuck! That is disgusting!


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Once we started really looking at the plants, we realized that they were infested with them. Five or six tiny leafy plants in our front yard containers had a grand total of 13 caterpillars tearing them up. I picked them off, tossed them on the sidewalk and then stomped on them (which was much less gross than stomping on tomato hornworms). […]

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