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Avatar for SusanPing
Aug 19, 2017 1:31 PM CST
Name: Susan Pingitore
IL (Zone 5b)
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!!!!!
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Aug 19, 2017 1:40 PM CST
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Procrastinator Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plays in the sandbox
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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......
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Aug 19, 2017 1:50 PM CST
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Irises Plant Identifier Hummingbirder Birds
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers cold winters
The hornworm is already doomed. As Paul said, put on your gloves, pick it off and discard it.
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Aug 19, 2017 1:50 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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Yes, that is a terrifying sight. Just snip off the leaf.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Aug 19, 2017 7:17 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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and... don't rip out your tomato plants! Smiling
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer
C/F temp conversion
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Aug 19, 2017 7:25 PM CST
Name: Janine
NE Connecticut (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Connecticut Seed Starter Herbs Plant and/or Seed Trader
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...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 Icon for preview
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Aug 19, 2017 7:31 PM CST
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Southlake, Texas (Zone 8a)
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Janine is right; those are highly beneficial insects. Leave them be so they can complete their task.
Avatar for Frillylily
Aug 19, 2017 7:34 PM CST
Missouri (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
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
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Aug 20, 2017 2:24 AM CST
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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!
Avatar for Frillylily
Aug 20, 2017 7:07 AM CST
Missouri (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
unless you like hawkmoths? then you don't want the wasps.
Avatar for SusanPing
Aug 20, 2017 10:14 AM CST
Name: Susan Pingitore
IL (Zone 5b)
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!!!
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Aug 20, 2017 10:59 AM CST
Name: Cheryl
North of Houston TX (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Plumerias Ponds
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Parasitic? Verrrrry INTERESTING!
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uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Avatar for brice12
Aug 20, 2017 12:27 PM CST
Name: Willy
Portland, Maine (Zone 5b)
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.
Avatar for Frillylily
Aug 20, 2017 12:57 PM CST
Missouri (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
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.
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Aug 20, 2017 9:16 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Bee Lover Butterflies Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters
I like the sphinx moths too -- haven't seen any yet this year, though.
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer
C/F temp conversion
Avatar for SusanPing
Aug 21, 2017 8:23 PM CST
Name: Susan Pingitore
IL (Zone 5b)
Thank You!
Avatar for lclehman1
Aug 27, 2017 2:00 PM CST
Clairton, PA Zone 6(USDA has c
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!
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Aug 31, 2017 2:58 AM CST
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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.
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Aug 31, 2017 8:22 AM CST
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Irises Plant Identifier Hummingbirder Birds
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers cold winters
A win, win, win! Hurray!
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Aug 31, 2017 10:15 AM CST
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Zencat said:A win, win, win! Hurray!


Thank you. I tip my hat to you.

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