My "favorite"--if you can call it that--garden pest is the hornworm. I don't know why, but I find it kind of fun, hunting these guys. They camouflage so well on a tomato plant, it's like I've "won" when I finally track down a worm that's been decimating my plant.
|Can you see the hornworm?|
|How about now?|
|If you find the branches of your tomato plants have been denuded, you've got hornworms.|
I've heard that if you spray a plant with soapy water, this will aggravate the worms and cause them to move around, making it easier to see and catch them. I tried this once with minimal luck, and found it just as easy to hunt for them myself.
Typically, I start looking for a worm where I see the damage they've left behind. A second clue is the feces, or worm dirt, which they just let fall. I can usually find the culprit quickly if I look above the worm dirt and below the denuded branches.After I find the worm, I shake the dirt off the leaves so that the next time I see worm dirt on a plant, I'll know it's new.
|The size of the worm dirt will give you a clue as to what size worm you're looking for.|
What to do with the hornworms? Well, you can just stomp on them, if you're so inclined. They also would make good fish bait, or you can put them on your bird feeder. If all else fails, you can just throw them in the garbage.
If you take action as soon as you notice the damage, tomato (and other) plants typically recover from a hornworm attack fairly easily.