Organic Control for Tomato Hornworms on Peppers

Posted on 21 July 2016

 

Tomato Hornworms are really big green caterpillars that can devastate your pepper garden. Giant brown moths lay pearl-like eggs on your pepper leaves, from which the monsters will hatch and start to eat voraciously. They can decimate all the leaves on a plant overnight.

The best organic control might be picking the caterpillars off the plants, but by then it could be too late to save your plants. Also, touching and pulling them off is gross, but depending on how mad you are, you won’t mind! Then destroy them by dropping in a bucket of soapy water or cutting the caterpillar in half.

If your tomato hornworms have little white eggs on their backs you might want to keep them as pets (prisoners). These are parasitic wasp eggs, and after the wasp larvae hatches, it spins a cocoon on the hornworm for protection. They slowly consume their prey to fuel their growth to adulthood. These adult wasps will then go lay eggs on more hornworms.

Other beneficial insects like yellow jackets, lady beetles and green lacewing larvae also enjoy feasting on young tomato hornworm caterpillars. By attracting these helpful insects and implementing additional controls, like row covers and marigold borders, pesky tomato hornworms on your peppers could soon be a thing of your gardening past. 

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