Hornworm season – Yum!

We woke up yesterday to the latest in livestock innovation – tomato hornworms mob grazing on our tomato plants. They prune, they cull, they do it all! Here’s a shot of the little sweethearts at work:

What's left of the tops of my tomato plants
What’s left of the tops of my tomato plants

Of course, we realized immediately it was time for a Hornworm Hunt! There’s nothing quite like it.

First, you stand in front of your until-now successful tomato plants, the ones that have already yielded 2+ pound tomatoes in great quantities, and study the greenery.

Then you listen: You can hear the chomping. You can hear the dropping.

You observe: You can see the gift of hornworm fertilizer left behind on so many leaves. You can see most certainly, the bare ends of every vine where the cute and cuddlies have been munching all night, doubling in size by the hour…oh and yes, the mini-bites that look like one large bite they’ve taken out of so many green tomatoes.

But to find them is a very Zen experience. You have to let go. You can’t look too hard. You have to look from the periphery of your sight, almost not looking. And then, there one is! You were staring at it all the time!

Average-sized tomato hornworm
Average-sized tomato hornworm

And if you are successful (oh what an elusive term that is), you will come home with enough hornworm meat to feed the family for a week! Unfortunately, even the guineas won’t eat this stuff. So once we’re sure they’re done taking a dip in the luxury swimming pool we made for them, they go into the compost heap.

Hornworm harvest (one day only)
Hornworm harvest (one day only)



Anyone out there have a better idea for hornworm control? I thought at first this is Mother Nature’s way of telling me not to plant so many tomatoes. But last year these beggars were out on my handful of tomato plants a month earlier!


Ah well…time to go process the tomatoes I salvaged…




2 thoughts on “Hornworm season – Yum!

  1. My technique has always been to just step on them–certainly not barefooted!!!! They make a big splash, fertilize the ground they were just fertilizing and that’s the end of them.

Comments are closed.