I was out in my garden this morning, showing my mom how well it was doing over Facetime (that’s normal, right?) and I noticed some rather large poos on my heat tolerant tomato plant. To which my mom exclaimed, “I bet you have those nasty green worms! You better look.” “Nasty green worms” meaning the tomato hornworms which is actually quite beautiful but can destroy a tomato plant pretty quickly.
So I hang up with my mom and set to looking for these green worms that blend in very well with the tomato stems. Nature at it’s best. I’m looking and looking and don’t see it. Then I see this!
The Yellow Striped Army Worm doesn’t seem to be as bad as the tomato (or potato) Hornworm but it’s still eating my leaves. There are enough droppings on my plants that I’m convinced that he can’t be the only worm. Caterpillars that eat my plants and turn in to moths are always “he.” Caterpillars that turn into a pretty butterfly, even if they eat my plants, those are a “she.” Don’t ask me why.
Anyways, I continue my hunt for another 40 minutes and that was the biggest one I found but I find about 10 more little guys that end up in my empty coffee cup. Squishing caterpillars is just gross – they’re so juicy!
Interestingly, while in the cup they seem to try to attach each other. I can’t imagine they’re trying to mate between the little and big ones. I guess they’re territorial?
So for now, pest control is just picking them off and killing them. I’ll take another looks for them tomorrow. On the bright side, I found about 7 spiders on this one plant! Must be why the leaf miners haven’t been able to get a foothold on this tomato plant. Go spiders go!
I’ll probably do another round of neem oil as well. It’s been a while since I applied any and it’s been raining a lot anyways. Luckily, the caterpillars seem contained on this one tomato plant so far. Hopefully I can keep them in check!