Mantis Tiller - chop up those hornworm cocoons this fall!
As we were gathering the last of the tomatoes for canning, we went at it with gusto, confident that all the worms, bugs and caterpillars had taken wing in their new forms and gone on to greener pastures. But, soon enough, we were rubbing shoulders (no horns - I checked both ends) with this one.
Could be a late season hornworm since there can be two generations of them in a single year. And, there must be more than one in the GardenSnob garden because many tomatoes had that characteristic, quarter-sized bite shaved off of them. This one is a purple/brown/grey color, though, not the typical green, so we'll keep searching for its proper identity. We decided to leave this little guy on the tomato so it can mature into a moth. We have enough tomatoes and it would be really cool to see the giant 5-6" moth.
One way to stave off next year's hornworms is to till your garden this fall, keeping an eye out for the cocoons which are reddish brown. Make sure you crush, destroy, pulverize them. The Mantis tiller might be just the thing for this job. It's light and maneuverable and uses a dependable Honda engine.
I've only heard good things about them and am tempted to get one myself. Although it's more expensive, I recommend the one with the 4-cycle engine because it's easier to start and a lot quieter. On sale at Amazon for $448.82.
And now for the fun stuff. How could we mention something as disgusting as a tobacco worm without giving a visual? Here's a really gross video for all the worm lovers but especially my 7 & 8 year old nephews. It shows a pretty girl eating a large tobacco hornworm on a dare. This is as gross as it gets! Don't say I didn't warn you.
Hot Chick Eating Juicy Tomato Worm - The most popular videos are here
The hornworm has taken quite a beating this season so let's see it in its hummingbird moth form. Looks graceful enough and the flower sure is pretty.
(Photo courtesy of Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota)
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Posted by Mary Ellen at September 19, 2008 2:04 PM