Tomato Horn Worm
very hard to see
as they hang in the shade underneath foliage.
one, covered with white cocoons of the predatory Braconid Wasp,
seen against a background of ripe tomatoes.
Buy Braconid Wasps
to the left, is
ornamental yellowish tail "horn",
from which it gets its
If allowed to mature, the Horn Worms may exceed 3" in
It's very difficult to find the two Horn Worms in
the top of this photo.
It's much easier to spot evidence of their presence in the bottom 3
On the left are dark green pellets
indicating a Hornworm above.
middle is a stem missing some leaves; another Smoking Gun.
right is a wilted leaf hanging by a nipped stem, which leads the eye
to the white Cocoons and their otherwise
camouflaged host nearby.
their normal diet,
but this Tomato
Worm was caught munching on a Green Tomato.
Even though it
it may be doomed by Wasp Eggs already laid in it.
It must continue to eat if any
Larvae inside it
are to mature
and come out to spin cocoons.
But it will
never spin its own cocoon to become
and lay eggs to propagate its species in your Garden.
In this photo, just
to the right of the bottom Wasp,
can be seen the dark half-moon of a
nearly chewed free.
And just below the same Wasp, can be seen the dark
head of a Wasp
through the translucent end of its cocoon.
I noticed two individual Wasps
get separate but identical reactions from the Worm when they took
from its "Horn". As they crawled up to the tip of the Horn, the Worm
a sideways thrash of its head,
that in a split second formed its body
It appeared that the Horn was extremely
that this undermined victim
had the strength to perform this powerful reaction.
These two Horn Worms are in the
final stages of predation. At left is a dead specimen which is turning
On the right can be seen open-ended cocoons, indicating that their 1/4"
occupants have emerged and flown away to mate and victimize more Tomato
Horn Worms. The microscopic exit holes made by the
be seen on both Worms.
these tiny Predatory
Wasps for your own Garden.
mature Caterpillar bores into the soil to complete its life cycle.
the Adult Moth has just emerged while another is ready.
closeup of the Emerged Moth
which will fly and mate at night to perpetuate its species.
"The Creator can make a
winged Moth or Butterfly
of a crawling, chewing Caterpillar.
He can make an Angel out of you !" - N.H.
"Who so ever"
We would like to know what laid the dozen
copper-colored eggs neatly on the center leaf.
We counted 145 Cocoons in this Horn Worm photo.
There could easily be another 60 unseen.
We wonder if they all had the same Mother,
and if they all emerged from the dedicated hole
from which their egg was injected.
If you remove the Horn Worms with attached
and put them in a glass jar with no lid, they will die.
the predatory Wasps will emerge and fly away
to prey on other Horn
worms in your Garden,
and reproduce to protect your Tomato Plants next year.
When you see stems with leaves missing,
stems so you know future leafless stems are
new damage with Horn Worms nearby.
Note that most of the Horn Worms seen here
are really Tobacco Horn
Worms, which have 7 diagonal stripes,
instead of the 8 found on Tomato Horn