controlling texas hornworms

Controlling Texas Hornworms

You can find these pesky caterpillars feeding on your various garden plants like tomato, eggplant, pepper, and potato. Hornworms can be hard to spot because they blend in with the plant leaves. They literally look like a leaf in their coloring. If you see dark spots on your leaves, look underneath and you may find one of these buggers. If you don’t see them in time, they can take your plants down to a nub in a matter of days.

Factoids about Hornworms

All living creatures serve a purpose, so what’s the purpose of the pesky hornworm? Well, it matures into a beautiful sphinx moth that resembles a miniature hummingbird.

With that hook on one end, it sure looks like it might sting or bite, but nope. A hornworm’s horn doesn’t sting and is no threat to humans. If you poke one, you may be treated to a defensive response. The hornworm will rear up, looking as threatening as possible, and make loud clicking noises.

Wasps are a great ally in controlling hornworm populations. If you see a hornworm with what looks like grains of white rice stuck all over its back, it has been parasitized by a wasp. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will eat the hornworm. The wasps have a natural duty to keep the hornworms in check.

How to control Hornworms

Commercial and organic pesticides are available. Or you can pick them off your plant and transport them to another location. Remember, they do not bite or sting, and the worst thing that can happen is they will make a loud clicking sound.

As mentioned in our factoids, if you see the hornworm covered in white egg sacs that look like rice, leave that hornworm alone. The egg sacs are those parasitic wasps called the Braconid wasp. Let the eggs hatch. Then you’ll have an army of wasps to defend your garden against all types of pests. These wasps are not a threat to humans.

Preventing future Hornworms

Tilling your garden after your harvest and again in early spring, can kill the majority of the overwintering pests and reduce hornworm problems for the coming year.

If you need help with your lawn maintenance, call First Response Lawn Care today!