August 18, 2010

Tomato Worm

If you grow tomatoes you've probably seen these guys.

I'm sure they have some official name but I call them "tomato worms."

They're wicked looking, aren't they?!

They usually hang out on the stems and leaves of tomato plants. Sometimes I find them on pepper plants, too.

I've heard of people loosing a whole patch of tomatoes to this worm. But that has never happened to me.

Sometimes when you hold one of these they'll leave a little bit of greenish goo on your hand... eeew.

When I find one I pluck it off the tomato plant and throw it in to the chickens. Chickens like tomato worms!

Occasionally you'll find one that looks like it has grains of white rice lined up all across it's back.

I don't feed one that looks like that to the chickens.

There is a kind of wasp that lays it's eggs on the tomato worm. The eggs feed on the body of the tomato worm until it's time for them to hatch. The tomato worm dies from the parasitic eggs. When I find a tomato worm like that I leave it alone... so the wasps can be born and continue to keep the tomato worm population in check.
I haven't found one like that yet this year, but I'll take a picture of it if I do.

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