Ask a Question forum: Gross - What is this? How do I get rid of it?

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Name: Susan Pingitore
IL
SusanPing
Aug 19, 2017 1:31 PM CST
My tomato plants have not had a good year. Only two of the original six that I planted are even close to where they were last year or should be this year. From an earlier post, I learned that my plants have verticulum (?) wilt or early blight. I sprayed them with an organic fungicide, but they're still pretty sick.

Today I found these white seed-like objects on the leaf of one of the two healthy (sort of healthy) plants. What is this? How do I get rid of it? Should I rip out my tomato plants and hope for a better growing season last year.
Thumb of 2017-08-19/SusanPing/563db8

I'm afraid to touch this stuff. What should I do? HELP!!!!!

Susan
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Aug 19, 2017 1:40 PM CST
The white objects are eggs attached to the back of a large green tomato worm. Put on a rubber glove and remove the worm and eggs and discard. Look for more worms and discard them......
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Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
Aug 19, 2017 1:50 PM CST
The hornworm is already doomed. As Paul said, put on your gloves, pick it off and discard it.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 19, 2017 1:50 PM CST
Yes, that is a terrifying sight. Just snip off the leaf.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Aug 19, 2017 7:17 PM CST
and... don't rip out your tomato plants! Smiling
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Name: Janine
NE Connecticut (Zone 6a)
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janinilulu
Aug 19, 2017 7:25 PM CST
...OR just leave it alone to allow the eggs to hatch to help you dispatch any other unwanted & destructive tomato hornworms that may be lingering.
[Last edited by janinilulu - Aug 19, 2017 7:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Aug 19, 2017 7:31 PM CST

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Janine is right; those are highly beneficial insects. Leave them be so they can complete their task.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Aug 19, 2017 7:34 PM CST
is this a hawk moth? I really like those in my garden and don't see them as often I would like. Sometimes "worms" turn out to be pretty thingies... Lovey dubby
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Aug 20, 2017 2:24 AM CST
SusanPing said:My tomato plants have not had a good year. Only two of the original six that I planted are even close to where they were last year or should be this year. From an earlier post, I learned that my plants have verticulum (?) wilt or early blight. I sprayed them with an organic fungicide, but they're still pretty sick.

Today I found these white seed-like objects on the leaf of one of the two healthy (sort of healthy) plants. What is this? How do I get rid of it? Should I rip out my tomato plants and hope for a better growing season last year.
Thumb of 2017-08-19/SusanPing/563db8

I'm afraid to touch this stuff. What should I do? HELP!!!!!



Don't discard them. Just set them elsewhere in the yard. Those "seeds" are parasitic wasps that control the hornworm population. You want to let them eat the hornworm and spread!

springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Aug 20, 2017 7:07 AM CST
unless you like hawkmoths? then you don't want the wasps.
Name: Susan Pingitore
IL
SusanPing
Aug 20, 2017 10:14 AM CST
I'm so thankful for all of the good advice. I tried to find the hornworm this morning without success.
Based on the info provided in these posts, I guess that's not a bad thing.
Thank you all!!!
Susan
Name: Cheryl
Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Aug 20, 2017 10:59 AM CST
Parasitic? Verrrrry INTERESTING!
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Name: Willy
Portland, Maine (Zone 5b)
brice12
Aug 20, 2017 12:27 PM CST
I had this problem, a tomato worm problem, many years ago with incredibly healthy tomato plants that were nearly destroyed within a week. I heard noises coming from the plants in the evening. Turns out the culprit tomato worms make a clicking noise when the eat, and they eat voraciously. They like to hide under leaves, the tender ones near the top, but anywhere actually. You almost can't see them they are so wewll camouflaged. I picked about 3 dozen of them off by hand and discarded them, yes gross. However I saw that a few of the worms had white eggs embedded in them like you have posted. In reading up, I found that a wasp lays these eggs in live worms and the larvae of the wasp feeds on them, thus killing them. The article recommended NOT to disturb the egg laden worms so as not to disturb the natural enemy of the worm.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Aug 20, 2017 12:57 PM CST
I grow extra plants for the worms, and move them to those. I like the moths, so I don't kill them or allow any wasps to develop here. The moths are beautiful.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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Weedwhacker
Aug 20, 2017 9:16 PM CST
I like the sphinx moths too -- haven't seen any yet this year, though.
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Name: Susan Pingitore
IL
SusanPing
Aug 21, 2017 8:23 PM CST
Thank You!
Susan
Clairton, PA Zone 6(USDA has c
lclehman1
Aug 27, 2017 2:00 PM CST
Agree with those who said white objects are wasp eggs. These wasps are highly beneficial and parasitize the hornworm larva. When they hatch, the larva burrow through skin and proceed to eat the caterpillar from inside out, leaving a mummy. The adults are free living so these are more correctly parasitoids since their entire life cycle is not spent on or in host. Hurray!
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Aug 31, 2017 2:58 AM CST
I move the hornworms to far sites in the yard. Some have the parasitic wasp eggs some don't. I love the sphinx moths. And while I don't ever have the hornworms on my tomato plants for long, they live long enough on other plants to mature.

We have a tolerant balance between the hornworms and the moths... I don't allow them to damage the tomatoes, the wasps get their replication, and I get the sphinxs.
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
Aug 31, 2017 8:22 AM CST
A win, win, win! Hurray!
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Aug 31, 2017 10:15 AM CST
Zencat said:A win, win, win! Hurray!


Thank you. I tip my hat to you.

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