Insects – Sphinx Moth

Sphinx Moth, hornworm
Have you seen any of these moths around your garden lately?

My husband and I used to watch them at dusk from our front porch. We called them “hummingbird moths” because they really reminded of us of hummingbirds buzzing about different flowers in our perennial beds. We always thought it was so cool to get to watch them while they were searching for nectar.

Then I found out that they are known as the Hawk moth or Sphinx moth – none other than the adult form of the Tomato Hornworm! Eek. Talk about rude awakenings, eh?

Here’s what you need to do: keep an eye on your tomato plants. If you’ve got Tomato Hornworms, you’ll either notice that something has been munching on the leaves or tomatoes, or you’ll see small droppings on the ground beneath the plants. If you grow your plants in beds that are covered with red plastic (to increase the soil temperature), they’re pretty easy to see.

Then look for the bright green worms and get rid of them. I don’t use any sprays although you could safely use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) which is a strain of bacteria that is deadly to the caterpillar stage of most insects but safe for humans. I like to have instant results so while wearing garden gloves, I either pull the worms off the plants and dispose of them or trim off the branch they’re hanging onto and dispose of them. (I admit it, I’m squeamish)

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news about these marvelous moths but hey, somebody’s gotta do it.