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tomato horn worm

Tomato Hornworm in the Vegetable Garden

The tomato hornworm caterpillar is the larval stage of a sphinx moth.  It is the largest caterpillar found in the vegetable garden if is feeds long enough.  Sometimes, the caterpillar coloration blends in well on the plant it is feeding.  There are other clues that the tomato hornworm is there such as eaten leaves.  The dark green, sometimes shiny, frass (insect droppings) is a very definitive.  If found, look to the leaves above and the caterpillar will be there feeding. Control is simple, hand pick and squash, place in a small container of soapy water, or apply a bacterial insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis such as found in Thuricide or Dipel. For more information about the tomato hornworm see Featured creatures at http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/field/hornworm.htm