Have you ever seen a tomato hornworm? They are actually caterpillars and they are GIANT. I hadn't seen any since I lived in Colorado growing up. They were quite common there. I was just fine with that too because they are darn good at devouring tomato plants.
I just found out that they are also good at devouring grape vines. My husband spotted the first one when we were walking through the herb garden. We have two grapevine growing up an arbor at the entrance to the herb garden. Thankfully they weren't in the vineyard.
Just imagine how much one of these giant things can eat in a day and this isn't even the biggest one that we found. You would think we would have found this behemoth sooner but they blend in so well. Also didn't think we needed to watch for tomato hornworms on the grapevines. Hmmmmmmmm.
Can you spot it? It is right in the center of the photo.Tomato Hornworms can grow to be up to 4 inches long. They get their name from their horn like tail.
When they are full grown they drop off the plant and burrow into the ground to pupate. They emerge as a Hummingbird moth, also known as a Hawk or Sphinx moth. They are said to prefer tomato plants and to only feed on plant in the nightshade family-tomatoes, pepper, eggplant, and potatoes. I guess they need to add grapevines to the list.
I think that the kids found between ten and fifteen on our poor grape vines. Actually the grapevines are recovering really well and you wouldn't even notice now. Thank you LORD!
It was fun for the kids to see. They were amazed at the size of them.
Hand picking them is the most effective way to get rid of them organically. They make a perfect snack for any birds you might have. Trust me, it beats squishing them. You are sure to have it all over you if you go that route. They are just to big for that. If you don't have birds then you can always drop them into a bucket of soapy water.
I'm not sure why the one on the bottom is flesh colored. I've never seen that before. It kind of creeps me out. It looks like a finger. You can see their horn-like tails in the picture on the right. They are such a pretty color don't you think?
May all your plants be free of tomato hornworms!
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Hello, I'm Jaci. I love wandering around in my gardens admiring God's creation. I'm passionate about whole foods and clean eating. I look forward to sharing my farming and homestead adventures and helping you reach your gardening goals! If you have any questions then don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and I will be glad to help!