Denise O
Denise O
  • Hometalker
  • Miami, FL
Asked on May 2, 2013

Gardening

Kathryn Lynette Burns FilianoLYNDA R.Glenda Mangan
+45

Answered

Can anyone tell me what this is and how to get rid of them? I found 4 of them eating my tomato's.
garden pest
garden pest
48 answers
  • Catherine Smith
    on May 2, 2013

    These are tomato horn worms. Please see this site for help controlling them. http://www.ehow.com/about_4587562_tomato-hornworms.html However, these do turn into a sphinx moth which resemble hummingbirds. We picked several off our plants, put them in quart fruit jars with air holes in the lids and fed them some of the tomato stems and leaves. The nieces and nephews were fascinated watching them turn. It's a great project with kids.

  • Rita and Cane
    on May 2, 2013

    What a cool-looking creature!

  • Miriam I
    on May 2, 2013

    That looks like a ribbon with small grommets. So cool!

  • Patricia W
    on May 2, 2013

    Horn worms!!! Worse than slugs!

  • Rose Rhyner
    on May 2, 2013

    Please don't kill it - I look forward to seeing the Sphinx moths here in Northwestern Ontario - As an adult I have only begun to see these moths - every year my spring is complete once I see this magical moth that looks like a hummingbird in many ways - they are often seen around the lilacs. I've shown neighbour kids and now they look for them too. They have reported their sightings. Kids observing their environment. Thing of beauty.

  • Lily White
    on May 2, 2013

    Horn worms have absolutely destroyed my plants in the past. I cannot get over the destruction they can do overnight. In my opinion, they are the creepiest insect out there. Where the heck do they appear from?

  • Mary Anderson
    on May 2, 2013

    And, they're super strong. We brushed a blades of grass across the back of one, he bent back, grabbed the grass and tugged it out of our hands! They are pretty destructive critters...but pretty cool, too. I left them on my plants a few years ago, but never saw the moth. :(

  • Vicki
    on May 2, 2013

    please do not destroy. I would love to have them, I wish u can give me those and I will take care of them to feed them and let them go free when they are sphinx moths that look like hummingbirds at night time that we enjoy watching them on our swingers right in our back yard to admire the beauty of nature.

  • SweetPea Paula
    on May 3, 2013

    They also are the host for parasitic wasps which are beneficial to gardeners.

  • Wendy Stahl-Frakes
    on May 3, 2013

    My grandparents taught me not to kill them, but to let them eat the tomato leaves, this letting the sunlight into the plant to ripen the tomatoes...has worked for over 30 years...Yes the plants look a frlght, but the plant does not need the leaves.....without the leaves, more energy from the plant goes to the tomato...to grow and grow

  • Caley's Culinaries
    on May 3, 2013

    They will eat the tomatoes too. When we lived in OH, there are not as many on the plants. Every time I've had them in the South they killed the plants. There is a bacteria that will get rid of most of them. It's in any product that says Bt and it's widely available. Chickens will eat them too, but they will also start in on the tomatoes eventually. Tomatoes are tasty!

  • Sharon @ mrs. hines class
    on May 3, 2013

    what an amazing looking insect.

  • Karen K
    on May 3, 2013

    we had these a few yrs ago. on our hot pepper plants.

  • Diane P
    on May 3, 2013

    I remember mom picking them off the tomatoe plants as a kid.

  • Lucille B
    on May 3, 2013

    Rose and Vicki. Plant some tomatoes, you'll get them!

  • Patricia C
    on May 3, 2013

    Horn worms!!!Ugly bug-nasty too. Will fight back if you try to brush from plant!!!

  • Kellyann B
    on May 3, 2013

    There are 2, the Tomato horn worm and the Tobacco horn worm, differentiated only by the white & black stripes (or V's) on their backs. Here in Tx, we are more likely to see the Tobacco worm, which will not only devour a tomato plant, but also a pepper plant over night and they love love my Datura (Devils trumpet, Angels trumpet, Moon flower). Relocate them to somewhere if you can. I grow Datura in a corner of my yard specifically to relocate the horn worms. They come back fast and the worm doesn't kill them off. And watching the Hummingbird moths in the evening is like watching the Hummingbirds during the day.........Amazing!!

  • Elaine Talbert
    on May 3, 2013

    Give them their own tomato plant, you surely can spare one! They become the most beautiful "hummingbird" moths, and do their part in the pollination process. Please do a little research and spare some of these critters.

  • Leslie G
    on May 3, 2013

    Thank goodness! I picked one of these off of my potato plant and threw it to my chickens. It was about 4-5 inches long! Biggest caterpillar I'd ever seen!.. After I'd done it I was afraid that I'd fed a Monarch Butterfly caterpillar to my girls... Glad to know it was an undesirable!

  • Vicki Maharaj
    on May 3, 2013

    They eat more than tomato plants, they tore up an angel trumpet and other plants.

  • Jenny Belman
    on May 3, 2013

    Looking very pretty! This one is called tomato horn warm and they are not your plant's enemy. So enjoy their activities with growing tomatoes.

  • Sherry LaSota
    on May 3, 2013

    I snickered when Kelly Ann said "relocate them.." but, I didn't know they turned into hummingbird moths - that becomes a different story. They are fascinating to look at but so big and creepy! Hmmmm - I guess giving them their own corner to eat would be worth it to have the big moths. My cats love chasing them!

  • Kellyann B
    on May 3, 2013

    haha!! That's ok Sherry, I can take the "snickers". LOL I know I was mortified the day I walked out to find pepper 'sticks' instead of plants & the first time they devoured my Prized Moon flower plant. Oh Wow!! Datura come back so fast, the worms literally never have to leave and since I've given them their "own corner", I don't see them as much on the tomatoes, peppers or datura and when I do, they go to the Datura Days Inn, as well!! :)) Good Luck with yours Denise!!

  • Denise O
    on May 3, 2013

    Thank you everyone for your help. I have relocated them to the compost pile where they can become moths.

  • Mary Murray
    on May 3, 2013

    Yes there cut worms and if you plant garlic around you tomatoes they won't come near them..

  • Kathi D
    on May 3, 2013

    One other downside to the hornworms is that they are host bodies to wasps and hornets. Insects lay their eggs under the skin of the hornworm and soon white egg-shaped larvae pop out of it's back. It looks like a walking egg carton. The wasp larvae feed on the host worm, eventually killing it. So, if you ever see one with white lumps sticking out of it, kill it. It will die anyway and you will be lowering the number of wasps and hornets in your yard.

  • Cheryl Phillips
    on May 3, 2013

    My Aunt ended up in the hospital for 7 days with a wicked infection in her calf due to one of these things biting her. Her leg swelled up twice the size, needed IV antibiotics.

  • Grace Adkins
    on May 3, 2013

    as long as it's not on my plants I don't care what it is.

  • Empress of Dirt - Melissa
    on May 3, 2013

    It's a tobacco hornworm (7 diagonal stripes and red horns). Tomato hornworms have 8 V -shaped markings and black horns. Both like to munch the same things.

  • Pattie Taylor-Tutts
    on May 3, 2013

    Leave the thing alone do not and will not ever understand why everyone want to kill every living thing.

  • Debbie Moore
    on May 3, 2013

    Why would you waist good yarn for that?

  • Catherine S
    on May 3, 2013

    Wow, putting them in the compost is an idea, but what happens when you turn it? Or do you just wait for a month and hope they're done changing? I was going to suggest feeding them to chickens. I like the idea of the circle of garlic protection, if it works. I know I've had to sacrifice some plants to caterpillars, but I enjoy the butterflies. The one thing I can't stand is the whiteflies that infest one plum tree, bastards are impossible to get rid of.

  • Tara Beamer
    on May 3, 2013

    I work at a Greenhouse. I find these guys ALL over our portulaca and they create the cocoon underneath the trays. They turn into an orange and black moth. My boss wants me to kill them but they don't seem to hurt the plants so I just let them be.

  • Mrs P
    on May 3, 2013

    they eat tomato leaves they ruin your tomato plants so if I see them I capture them put them in jar and feed them tomato leaves I have seen then in there cacoon and develop in to big moth!! then I take them away to a park and let them go!!!!

  • Kimberly Moore
    on May 3, 2013

    get over yourself Patty!! Humans need food too and some of us love home grown tomatoes WITH OUT BIG GREEN BUGS!!!!!!

  • Beverly L
    on May 3, 2013

    We don't normally get humming birds in our area and was so excited to see these little 'humming birds' in my yard...only to find out they were the result of the tomato hornworms....LOL!!!

  • Andrea S
    on May 4, 2013

    I don't think it is a hummingbird moth larva. It is a Carolina Sphynx larva. The hummingbird has a straight white line on it's body, the Carolina has the diagonal white lines. Carolina Sphynx: http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Caterpillars , hummingbird clearwing: http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Caterpillars , you can see the difference on the pictures.

  • Rose S
    on May 4, 2013

    the best time to pick them off the plants is in the mornings before the sun is up. The rest of the day they hide very well and are tough to see.

  • Dinah Dee Roberts
    on May 4, 2013

    I pick them off and throw them into the middle of the four lane to be destroyed....the same way they destroy my plants. Turn about is fair play....

  • Grace Hoppe
    on May 4, 2013

    I hunt them down, pull them off plants and squish them to death. They're all liquid when you squish them. Green liquid. Love stepping on them and watching the green guts splatter all over the place.

  • P
    on May 5, 2013

    They are the larvae of the Luna Moth, they are voracious and will demolish tomato plants in a matter of days. Ortho Sevin for vegetable gardens for mine. Be sure to wash your produce well before using. The Luna Moth is a large bright green moth, beautiful...looks like the one they use in the Lunesta medication commercial.

  • Linda King
    on Jul 3, 2013

    They are called tomato horn worms. Pick them off and put them in a can and put ashes on them to kill them or you can squish them.

  • Rose S
    on Jul 4, 2013

    definitely a tomato worm. They love all "nightshade" plants like tomato, pepper, eggplant etc. I check my plants every morning, and if I find any, well then I feed my pond fish with them. The fish like them - protein.

  • Kathi D
    on Nov 17, 2014

    Tomato hornworms also serve as hosts for wasps and hornets. They lay eggs inside the caterpillar, then the larvae consume it from the inside as they grow. If you feed the hornworm to a bird, then you are saving your tomato and eggplant as well as reducing the number of wasps/hornets in your yard.

  • Glenda Mangan
    on Dec 6, 2014

    @deniseo, ok i don't like killing things either, but tomato hornworms KILL tomatoes i plant marigolds close to my tomatoes & this seems to help, but if a worm shows his little green self on my tomatoes it's squish & gone for them. just sayin'

  • LYNDA R.
    on Dec 8, 2014

    it is a tomato hornworm and will destroy your tomatoes. Pick them off. Plant a bunch of marigold flowers around tomatoes plants to prevent these critters.

  • I wonder if they would make good fish bait

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