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You And The Tomato Hornworm

This is one ugly cuss! …AND he has bad manners too! If you have been cultivating tomatoes for any length of time you probably recognize this beast as a “Tomato Hornworm” right? Wrong! This is a TOBACCO Hornworm! You’re probably saying to yourself right about now, “How the hell does Jack know this is not a Tomato Hornworm and really a Tobacco Hornworm?” Well, you’re going to learn why you come here! I want you to go to the lower left side of the photo and take note of the fabled horn on the rear of the Hornworm….OK? Alright, what color is the horn?…..No….no….no….I’ll save you the trouble, it’s red! This is how you distinguish a Tobacco Hornworm from a Tomato Hornworm, the Tomato Hornworm has a BLACK horn. You are now a Tomato/Tobacco Hornworm “Expert”…..how does it feel….are there any “Tall Buildings” you feel like leaping?

OK, so now we know how to differentiate a Tobacco hornworm from a Tomato Hornworm, what do we do with this information with regard to out tomato plants….nothing actually, I just thought you might like to know the difference in case you ever decide to take up growing tobacco for smoking your own cigarettes.☺ So now that you’ve gotten over you euphoria at becoming an expert you’ve probably formulated a few questions……like, “How in the hell do these tomato hornworms find their way to MY tomato plants?” Well, I’ll tell you….Hummingbirds…..no, no, not those Hummingbirds, the dreaded “Hummingbird Moth!” These giant moths fly around laying eggs on the underside of soft leaves. When the egg matures the Tomato Hornworm emerges….or a Tobacco Hornworm if you’ve taken up growing Tobacco. When this guy emerges he’s really hungry and starts eating whatever is available…..usually your Tomato plant.

I have made it my business to hunt down and dispatch the dreaded “Hummingbird Moth” as witnessed by my Hummingbird Moth Trophy case! Each “Kill” has a little card identifying the location and date of dispatching these monsters. I usually prefer using my “Red Ryder B-B Gun” to take these beast down, but on occasion I have even defeated them bare handed, a messy affair at best. I recently ran afoul of the DNR when an agent spotted me shooting one. He told me, “You can’t shoot those!” To which I replied, “Shoot what?” He said, “Those things you’re shooting at….” I said, “You don’t even know what it is I’m shooting at and you’re telling me I can’t shoot them?” He replied, “Well, we’ll see about this, I’m going to start a 10 Million dollar research program to see what the impact of shooting those things has on the environment!” At this point he departed and I haven’t yet heard what impact “Those Things” have had upon our Mother Earth.

Just in case anyone thinks I was serious about the hunting and the DNR guy….I’m kidding….just a little Walter Mitty flight of fancy. In any event, next week I’m going to tell you a trick for getting rid of any future generations of these pest….and it’s REAL easy!


Posted Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 by by admin, under Tomato Care.

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