photo by Suzanne at KardKorner Headquarters
Fort Worth, Texas -July 2010
While visiting our tomato plants last week, we discovered that the tops of the plants looked like they had been snipped off with scissors. Lo and behold! These creatures that blend perfectly with the leaves were nesting on our plants. If you look closely you can even see his eyes! Blah! A fly was harrassing one of them and it was writhing back and forth while hanging on to the plant as it tried to ward off the fly. It's none other than the Tomato Hornworm, native of the United States! Their eggs are deposited onto the leaves of the tomato plant by the "hawk" moth in late spring and hatch in six to eight days later. They don't mess around! Later, as the worm matures, it drops off the plant to the ground and then emerges into the moth to repeat the cycle. But by early fall they will remain in the soil all winter and then emerge again as a moth in the spring.
A common, natural enemy of the hornworm is the wasp. The wasp kills and feeds upon a large proportion of the larvae and they also attack cabbage looper and other garden caterpillars. But the most recommended way of controlling the worm is to handpick them from infested plants. Once tomato season is over, gardeners should be sure to till the soil up to prevent re-infestation.
Somewhere off to the right of the page should be a picture of the "Hawk" moth.
I gathered this information from a site featuring the Department of Entomology, Univ. of Minnesota
Well, I had the day off today and I watched The Today show this morning on TV. They announced that today is "National Hammock Day". I have never heard of it, but, hey-I can live with it. This day is celebrated in the middle of the "Dog Days of Summer" (July 3 thru August 11). It is not a day for work, and cutting the lawn is forbidden. Well, that pretty much describes how our day went!"
And I decided to give my old standby, Mark Twain a break and leave you with some quotes from Movies on the subject of worms.
* The Fox & The Hound (1981): "A worm for breakfast? Yuck!"
* Remington Steele (1983): "The worms will be singing tonight!"
* The Great Outdoors (1988): "These are the biggest worms I have ever encountered!"
* Wolf (1994): "Is the worm turning Mr. Randall?"
"The worm has turned & it is now packing an Uzi, Mary."
* Dreamcatcher (2003): "One worm kills the world? Just one worm can affect the whole world? Not just Boston? Not Massachusetts? Or the Northeast?"