Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Army to Defeat Hornworms

I keep having a nightmare that I go out to the garden and all the tomatoes and peppers are leafless!  The reason is the hornworms.  If you saw my earlier post, hornworms have invaded my garden and I'm a bit squemish about controlling them.

Now I inspect the tomatoes and peppers everyday, looking for missing leaves and big fat hornworms.  The other day I saw a smaller hornworm surrounded by the troops:

Those are eggs of parasitic wasps, the braconid wasp to be specific.  It lays its eggs inside the hornworm and as they hatch, they eat their way out, killing the hornworm. This makes death by soapy water seem much more humane!  I left the hornworm to its fate and it has been in the exact same spot everyday and hasn't eaten a single leaf.  I think its end is looming close.  The best part is that once all those baby braconid wasps hatch I'll have an army to help defeat the hornworms.  Hopefully the nightmares will subside too!


  1. I always love to see that. Usually I get about half the hornworms killed that way.

  2. Great news! Hopefully your nightmares will subside!

  3. Wow! I had no idea! That's a much better ending (for us humans anyhow) than the soapy water ending ;-) Stinkin' hornworms! I have't found any in our garden yet this year, but it's about time...

  4. How cool is that - nothing like nature solving your problems is there?