24 July, 2006

Tomato Hornworm!

I eliminated my first garden pest this weekend. In the past, my approach to pests has been pretty laissez-faire; my pest management technique has consisted mostly of laying down cedar mulch and growing some nasturtiums, and otherwise pretty much hoping for the best. Since I previously had more problems with squirrels than anything else, this has usually sufficed. City gardens probably don't attract the full complement of bugs in any case.

The droppings
But I found some remarkably symmetrical droppings on the ground beneath my tomatoes, which caused some alarm. A bit of investigation led me to the culprit, the tomato hornworm, which can end up burrowing into a fair number of ripe tomatoes and therefore probably needed to be "taken care of".

The offender
Eventually I decided to go out and actually look for the little bugger. He was actually pretty easy to find, because he was huge! The size of my thumb, at least. He was in the process of chewing on a tomato stalk (which he had already chewed the end off) and wouldn't desist even when I yelled at him.

I wrestled him into a glass jar with a stick (which was an epic battle of sorts - those little legs are remarkably tenacious), in the process of which he produced a great deal of green-colored, irridescent excretions (shitting himself with fear?) and made amazingly loud clicking noises. I stared at him for a while and showed him around to my roommates before beating him to death with some rocks.

This is about as exciting as my life gets right now.


Awwww.... He's cute! Are you sure he's a "he" and not a "she" who also happenes to be a Mommy? Better make sure. 

Posted by DearDarlingDidi

Dunderhead - it's a caterpillar. Larva. It cannot produce offspring. Although I dunno about its sex, it's true. 

Posted by saurabh

Eww, it's a moth . 

Posted by Saheli

Good thing you saw it so late in life. The sight and nightshadey smell of a tomato hornworm once terrified me out of the garden for weeks -- I was about 6. Which is up there for a hedgehog. 

Posted by hedgehog

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