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Get to Know the Tomato Hornworm


Date Posted: February 19, 2016

Seeds of the Month Club by Mike the Gardener Get to Know the Tomato Hornworm
photo credit: iStockPhoto

Besides growing fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs, having a garden in your backyard and at home is also a great way to learn about various insects in your surrounding area. Fact is, if you grow something, you are getting insects whether you like it or not. There will be a wide range of insects that will set up a home among your plants, of which one is the tomato hornworm.

Moths, butterflies, bees, wasps, flies, ladybugs and thousands of other species will descend on your garden for good reasons, such as pollination, and bad, such as a food source. One such insect you will encounter quite often, especially if you grow tomatoes, is the tomato hornworm.

What is a tomato hornworm?

The tomato hornworm is a member of the Sphingidae family and loves to feast on vegetables and fruit bearing plants in the Solanaceae family, such as tomatoes and eggplant. If you are growing members of this plant family, chances are you will see one of these tomato hornworms.

Are Tomato Hornworms Poisonous? Do Tomato Hornworms Sting?

The short answer is no. Tomato hornworms are harmless to humans, and other than a poking with the “horns”, they aren’t poisonous either. They will however decimate your plants if you do not discard them.

Tomato Hornworm Control

This is fairly easy. Since tomato hornworms are harmless to humans, simply pick it off the plant and throw it away. Some people feed them to their chickens, and although I have chickens, I do not do this. Tomato plants are toxic to chickens, hornworms eat tomato plants. Do you see where I am going with this? That is not to say the chickens will die or get sick, I am just a very cautious person. Comment below and let me know your take on this, especially if you feed them to your chickens. I’d like to know how your birds do.

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Get to Know the Tomato Hornworm

If you see a tomato hornworm with white things sticking out of it (as shown in the photo above), leave it alone. The larvae of a wasp has been deposited on the hornworm and is using it as a food host. The wasp is a good insect for your garden.

Happy gardening!


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Mike the gardener

About the Author

Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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KEYWORDS:

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