Monday, September 5, 2011

I've Got A Parasite And I Couldn't Be Happier

Remember when I found that lovely, green cherub in my garden a few weeks ago?

Well, when you look at pictures, they always show that if you see one with little white cocoons hanging off of it, don't kill it.  These are parasitic wasps that have invaded the worm and are killing it from the inside.  I always fantasize that this will happen and I then I'll never have them again.

Well, today my fantasy came true.  This plant has been outside my greenhouse door all summer, but we brought it inside, due to the potentially  impending wrath of Irene

I've been taking most of the plants back out, but I figured I might as well leave these inside so the tomatoes will turn nice and red.  And bees have been in there when I go in the morning, so I know the remaining flowers will be pollinated.

Yesterday, I found some green caterpillar on the other one, but it was small and didn't look very hornworm like, so I just killed it. 

Today, I happened to see this and thought these white things were the little nubs that sometimes grow off of tomato plants. 

But no!  It is a small tomato hornworm (not sure if it's tobacco or tomato because it was already losing its color so I couldn't count the stripes) that has been infested with the dreaded parasitic wasp.  WHOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!

I always thought these would  be, you know, WASPS, but they were hatching out and they were smaller than mosquitoes.  And they so did their job.  This thing was already barely moving when I first noticed and a couple of hours later, it was frozen in this half on, half off the branch state and was totally dead.  GO WASPS!!! 

I would like to think this means the end of the hornworms, but I cannot be sure.  I now touch each tomato plant with fear and trepidation that I might be touching a hornworm and not the plant itself.

This gardening thing sure is a difficult venture.


  1. You're a brave woman dealing with those critters. I say go buy your tomatoes at the grocery store like the average folk with non-green thumbs do!

  2. I've only found 2 hornworms this year... although I'm sure where there are 2, there are 100. blahhhh.


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