The Q&A Archives: Green Caterpillar

Question: We have found large green caterpillars eating leaves and fruit near the tops of our tomato plants. The caterpillars are about three inches long, very plump and are the same color as the leaves. What are they? And how do we get rid of them?

Answer: You've found tomato hornworms, larvae of a huge moth (Manduca quinquemaculata). You can handpick and destroy these pests or use Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis) to control them. Braconid wasps are their natural predators, so if you see caterpillars with white cocoons attached, they have become hosts to the beneficial wasps and will eventually die without intervention on your part. Tomato hornworms are hungry little beasts and can defoliate a plant in a day!

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