Caterpillars on Tomatoes - Knowledgebase Question

Carlisle, PA
Question by Rlljknizner
June 22, 2001
Help! I found several large caterpillars munching on my tomatoes. What should I do to get rid of them?


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Answer from NGA
June 22, 2001

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It sounds like you're seeing tomato hornworms, which can grow to an alarming size! Like most caterpillars, hornworms can be controlled by using Bt, Bacillis thuringiensis.However, since tomato hornworms can do a lot of damage in a short time, you may want to remove the ones you see by hand. Note: If you see a caterpillar with what looks like grains of rice all over it, relocate it elsewhere in the garden rather than killing it. It has been parasitized by a certain wasp laying its eggs on it. These small wasps are harmless to humans, but will help the hornworm population in check. (The parasitized hornworm will die anyway.)

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