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Caterpillars -Armyworm?

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Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  AlwaysHotinFL on 7/19/2017, 5:34 pm

The army has invaded. 

Casualties: Swiss Chard, Marigolds.
Injured: Tomatoes, Okra
The resistance: Basil, Peppers, Sage

Weapons of warfare: soapy water, abduction from battleground. Possibly BT or maybe complete retreat and reformulation of my vegetable army since its summer anyway. 


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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  yolos on 7/19/2017, 11:09 pm

Definitely BT.
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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  sanderson on 7/20/2017, 1:08 am

Thank you for sharing the photo. (and the humor)

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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/20/2017, 4:17 pm

sanderson wrote:Thank you for sharing the photo. (and the humor)

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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  ColleenW on 8/19/2017, 10:01 am

I came here to see if I could identify this guy I found on my tomato plant last evening. Looks like one of the army minions? Huge! I put him in the corner of my yard. But he might evicts us today.

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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  trolleydriver on 8/19/2017, 10:12 am

Tomato hornworm. Not a good guy as far as I know.

https://www.almanac.com/pest/tomato-hornworms

But sometimes it is best not to kill a hornworm as explained in the following article.

http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2011/08/when-not-to-kill-a-tomato-hornworm/

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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  ColleenW on 8/19/2017, 10:21 am

Thanks, trolleydriver! I'll go out this morning and search for more. I tried to last evening but it was dusk, so who knows how many others are there? My tomato plants look great overall, so hopefully it will be quick and easy to pick these hornworms off if they get too out-of-control. 

They are very cool to look at. Can't say I'm upset about finding the worm because this is part of the reason I started a garden ... to discover the nature around me!
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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/19/2017, 10:24 am

ColleenW wrote:I came here to see if I could identify this guy I found on my tomato plant last evening. Looks like one of the army minions? Huge! I put him in the corner of my yard. But he might evicts us today.

Tobacco hornworm (the tomato hornworm is extremely similar, and both caterpillars eat tomato plants, so my distinction may not be that important.) They have big appetites. If he/she got enough to eat, and isn't hijacked by parasitic wasps they will form a pupae, and eventually emerge as a sphinx moth. Here's a tobacco hornworm, all grown up, on my garden gate. I've gently pushed the wings open on one side so you can see the pretty orange spots:

My hornworms got heavily parasitized last year, so I was glad to see one survived. I know, they're pests, and I should therefore feel differently... but I think they are handsome and they are pretty amazing nocturnal pollinators:
http://texasbutterflyranch.com/2012/06/21/loathed-by-gardeners-tomato-hornworms-morph-into-magnificent-sphinx-moths/
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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  trolleydriver on 8/19/2017, 11:04 am

I understand that one way to tell the difference between tobacco and tomato hornworms is by the color of the horn. The tobacco hornworm has a red horn on the rear and the tomato hornworm has a black horn. Is that correct?

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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  sanderson on 8/19/2017, 12:52 pm

Colleen, If you go out at night with a flashlight or head lamp, you might find other insects. Also, at night, green worms on green leaves are easier to see. Flip flops and bathrobe are the accepted wear. Wink

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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  ColleenW on 8/19/2017, 1:41 pm

@sanderson I might just try that! And maybe I'll run into the critter who is eating up my garden. It finally decided to break through my fence around the raised beds. Tore up the new spinach and lettuce sprouts. It's a lot more crowded out in the yard than I though it would be!
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Re: Caterpillars -Armyworm?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/19/2017, 8:58 pm

trolleydriver wrote:I understand that one way to tell the difference between tobacco and tomato hornworms is by the color of the horn. The tobacco hornworm has a red horn on the rear and the tomato hornworm has a black horn. Is that correct?
The black can be blue-ish and the red can be dark -- plus the lighting on photos can be unclear. The supporting identifier is that the tobacco hornworms have white slashes ///// and the tomato worms have white side-ways V's or chevrons <<<<<.
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