Ask a Question forum: Caterpillars

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Name: Gilbert E
California
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Gilby
Jul 18, 2014 3:22 PM CST
Help, I found about ten caterpillars on my tomatoe plants. I removed them all today
They've made holes in the leaves so I took em off. My mom says to throw them away but I don't want to. I want to keep them and keep my plants. What I've done is put them all in a container with a few tomatoes and chile plants. What should I do if I want to keep them and my plants?
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
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frostweed
Jul 18, 2014 3:48 PM CST
You can raise them in the container if you give them food daily until they are fully grown.
These moth pupates in the soil so when they get big you should put a good layer of soil in the container so they can go in and pupate. Here is a link;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manduca_quinquemaculata
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jul 18, 2014 7:45 PM CST
Gilby, do you know what type of caterpillars they are? Are they the typical "hornworms? Can you post a photo (or at least a good description of them) ? Smiling
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[Last edited by Weedwhacker - Jul 18, 2014 7:52 PM (+)]
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Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Jul 19, 2014 2:38 PM CST
Gilby, I wonder if you've most likely found the "tomato worm" (aka corn earworm) which is far different from a tomato hornworm. Hornworms tend to defoliate a plant by eating the whole leaf and petioles, not putting holes in them. Tomato worms will also eat leaves as well as bore into the fruit, sometimes "hole by hole".

"What should I do if I want to keep them and my plants?"
I'd do as Josephine suggested, keep them alive and feed them in a container (jar, old aquarium, etc) to keep the worms alive and watch their life stages develop. It's a pretty interesting sight to see!

Shoe (off to eat a tomato sandwish, minus the worms!) :>)

Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jul 19, 2014 4:41 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Shoe must be a vegetarian tonight. No worms in the sammy. Rolling on the floor laughing
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Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
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Horseshoe
Jul 19, 2014 5:37 PM CST
Hah! Greene, I had chicken-on-the-grill tonight for my protein! It's much more tasty and filling than worms!

Shoe (who asks ya'll not to mention eating worms to my favorite pet earthworm, "Wiggly Giggly", who is always so happy he/she seems to smile at both ends.)

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