UGH! This potato had leaves this morning!

big_black_cat(7b)June 17, 2011

It rained today so I knew I didn't have to water. I wandered over anyway to check on my containers and I find this:

Look closer and find this:

How to I get rid of it? I don't necessarily want to kill it but I don't want it eating all my plants. How do I protect my other plants? I have dusted with seven dust but I'm not sure it will keep these guys at bay. I also have some Neem oil that I bought for my lemon tree. As quickly as this sucker works, he might eat my whole container garden in a few days!

UGH! I hate killing things but he can't eat my little garden!

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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

This is know as the tomato horn worm. And they are partial to plants in the night shade family.
Tomato's being their favorite, hence the name. Also i've had them on egg plants, datura, peppers, to name a few.

It is unfortunate the damage they can do.
I keep one or two extra plants around to move them too and let them do as they please because they turn into a very valuable moth. The sphinx, or also known as the humming bird moth. A night time pollinator.

Because I never kill them, or use chemicals period, the only thing I can suggest it to pick them off by hand and dispose of it, or if you have something a good distance away, relocate it.

I'm sorry to see the damage that it did. Hopefully your plant will spring back.

Keep your eye open for more. We have them all summer long, of all different sizes.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 9:12PM
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You're nicer then me, because I would squash it. Don't get me wrong, I like nature, and try to preserve it the best I can, but I'm not willing to let something cause me problems. Let's take hornets & yellowjackets for example. Sure, they are part of nature, and have their benefits, but they are NOT welcome in my yard. I don't think twice about busting out the hornet spray and killing them. Bees I'm ok with, because they aren't aggressive and usually pose no threat. Anyways, as for your little worm friend, I'd get rid of it right away, unless you're willing to sacrifice your veggies. At the very least, take JoJo's advice and pick it off your plant, put it in a jar, and drive somewhere to relocate it. Heck, if you have any jackwagon neighbors, toss it over there :)


    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 10:53PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I Laughed out loud when I read your post. :-) I like the caterpillars too much to toss them into the neighbors yard, I have some pretty nasty neighbors. ;-) I did threaten to turn them loose in dads garden a few times when he brags about his maters, and teases me when mine get behind. ;-)

Like I said, I plant an extra tomato or 2.. but I can't and won't expect everyone to do the same and won't judge those who don't see things the same as me.

Bee's I welcome, but wasps/yellow jackets have to go! I got stung 3 times at once last summer disturbing a wasp hive I didn't know about, and again this summer.

I used to be terrified of the horn worm! They will make a clicking noise when you make them mad and flip the horn at you. LOL! One summer years ago, I had a huge one and at that time didn't know how valuable they were, I made hubby cut the whole branch off the tomato! LOL!

Here's what the moth looks like..

I'm in no way trying to convince anyone to save them, just sharing.

big black cat~
There are organic sprays, one by Ortho I beleive, and the other is called Safers that i've heard you can get at Home Depot and Wal Mart. It may work on the little ones, but I honestly don't know.

Once they are the size of what's on your plant, it's best to just hand pick.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 11:55PM
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Well, after I sevin dusted, I went back out and it was writhing around on the concrete. I hate it if I killed it but damn it, it can't eat my potatoes - or anything else! I dusted the crap out of everything but the lettuce (no one seems to be bothering it). Will look for the organic stuff you mentioned jojo, Thanks for that info. And yes, this guy was huge!

I know I said I hate to kill things, and in general I don't, but wasps, horse flies, ticks, fleas - got no problem killing their sorry little butts!

Joe, I think I'd be more active of a caterpillar killer if I didn't have to imagine the sickening squishing. Give me a good spray any day. LOL!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 12:07AM
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I've always been petrified of these things because of what you read about them, but I've never actually seen one. May just not be an issue in Houston. I can't believe they're actually that big.. I'm no insectophobe, but I'd definitely be using gloves for that.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 4:26AM
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greentiger, the horrid thing was at least 3" long! I couldn't believe how quickly it was eating the leaf he was on - just chomp, chomp, chomp. Guess he was hungry!

Years ago, I had regular gardens (in the ground type). This is my first go at a container garden. I never had anything like this attack even though I generally didn't use any chemicals. I'm not opposed to them. I just usually don't use them. Well, I use sevin dust so I guess that's a chemical, but I'm kind of lax about applying it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 11:49AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

LOL! Yes, they get huge! And can be stinkers if you make them mad. And yes, are eating machines. lol..
I use kitchen tongs to move the bigger ones. LOL! I like to save them, but the big ones still scare me. ;-)

I keep several tomatos on hand and a few datura (devils trumpet) that grow wild here.

Big black cat~ I'm with you on being a little squeamish about stepping on things. ;-) but I wont hesitate to put a worm on a hook to fish.. go figure. lol...

Anyway.. I guess it was just all the timing was right with nature. They aren't picky about in ground grown or container.

My dad used seven for years when we were kids . But with the world getting to be the way it is... I try and use as little chemicals as I can.

Everyone has their own feelings about how to handle things and that is fine with me. I've posted a link below to a web site that offers organic solutions to insects. I haven't used any of the products yet but will be looking into them, and did see one spray I want to try.

We have alot of trouble with some small grey bug that attacks our sunflowers.

Like I said before, it's not my place to judge someones choices, and I don't , but am just sharing for those who may be interested.

Big black cat~
I hope your plant springs back! You'll have to keep us posted. :-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Planet Natural ~ Organic solutions.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 12:06PM
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JoJo!! Ding ding ding ding, you just answered to question of what to do with them!! Fishing bait! Too bad I never have seen one, because I'd bet they'd work great for bait. Big, bright green, man, I bet you could catch a nice bass or northern pike on that! Oh, and speaking of squishing bout june bugs? My wife is terrified of them; I don't know why, but she says it's because they slowly buzz around and are creepy. Where I used to live, there was a drainage pond with lots of bass & big bluegills, and I'd collect the june bugs for bait. They worked great because they floated. Now-a-days, I just go on the deck, turn on the porch light, grab the kids' wiffle ball bat, and start swinging. But, I've found that attracting grackles to my yard is a big benefit, because they pick the june bugs out of the lawn during the day. So, we've got quite a few ideas for the list of things to do with horn worms:

1. squish it
2. relocated it
3. pitch it into your jackwagon neighbor's yard
4. squirt it with a spray of some sort
5. fishing bait
6. horn worm wiffle ball!


    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 12:35PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Not ding! ding! ding! LOL!
I'm the one trying to save them.. oh and the thought of touching one to put it on a hook... Gosh, no!
But if you ever get the chance, report back. LOL!

Ya, I bet a bass would love one!

The wiffle ball bat is too funny!

Now, I hate the june beetles too! And we have a huge green shinny one come summer rains. I swear they chase you! lol...

It has become an interesting and funny list.
Thanks for the laughs...:-)

Big black cat...
How are you and your plants? I hope they're spring back and you have the worms under control.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 7:53PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

You might try a Spinosad product next time. It's an anti-feedant so anything that chews on your leaves will die but it will leave anything beneficial (ie: things that don't eat your plant).

I'm using it on my tomatoes, peppers, and roses (for sawfly larvae) with success. I'm not an expert but I believe the product needs to be used when the caterpillars are still relatively small to be the most effective.

I'm ideologically against using Sevin (maybe I should be) - but I find when I use it that I wipe out a lot of beneficial insects along with the undesirable ones and then I have problems with mites and other things. I try not to use Sevin unless something has gone very wrong...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 8:23PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Sorry - I meant to say:

"I'm *not* ideologically against using Sevin"

I just find that practically speaking it creates headaches for me down the road.

Mis-typed, sorry.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 8:25PM
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