I have had issues with deer in the past eating the tops off my tomato plant and working their way down. So this year I took care to put a cage around them tall enough to thwart Bambi and co.
You can imagine my surprise to see it happening again this year - no way a deer could get to them! Am thinking raccoon? Squirrel? But how could they climb the plant to reach that high? And then I looked very closely, and saw these bad boys. Case closed!
Oh, unless anyone knows what the deal is with the maters - not looking so hot. Same culprit, or something else?
Hey Artie, the nibbler in the first two pictures is a tobacco hornworm, which look very similar to a tomato hornworm. Tobacco hornworm has the red "horn" on it's butt, and a tomato hornworm's "horn" is like a really dark green and overall looks subtly different in appearance. They both have a ravenous appetite and are the bane of tomato growers nationwide. Those hornworms will turn into a spotted moth like in the picture below. Here's a link to a page about these two tomato plant chewers, with detailed pictures of the differences between the two both in larval worm stage and adult moths, which also are almost identical.
Very true Wayne, they are hard to find! I dropped the ones I found into a bucket of water to make sure they were done. Even after plucking a bunch off and looking very carefully for more, when I went back later I found two more.
I guess my next decision is whether to pull the plants out and start something else - probably not going to get any ripe tomato’s at this point in the season.
Villains always have antidotes. They're funny that way. Here's an antidote disquised as a tiny ad: