Pest control on order

I’m not sure how they made it here, but I suspect these nasty tomato hornworms probably hitched a ride as larvae in the soil/manure/compost I imported. They are beefy little caterpillars, roughly the size of my middle finger. (Which is what I feel like giving them.)

A single one of these guys can take down an entire flourishing tomato plant in a single night. They define the word rapacious.

I’m not worried, though, because so far, every one of the hornworms I’ve found has already been “decorated” like this.

Know what those white things are? They’re the eggs of the braconid wasp, a nasty little (helpful) bug whose larvae literally eat the caterpillar alive. It’s a gruesome demonstration of parasitism in action.

Once the hornworm has been parasitized it will do no more damage to crops, so there is no reason to pick them off at this point. In fact, leave them there to ensure you have a good crop of braconid wasps to tackle next year’s invasion of hornworms.

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