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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Something is eating my tomato plants!

I arrived back home from my Colorado trip on Tuesday afternoon. After unloading most of my stuff and sitting a spell I went out in the back yard to check on my three tomato plants. Only one of the three has produced anything but that particular plant has about 40 small tomatoes growing on it right now. I looked at it and thought "whats happened to all the leaves". I soon saw the answer...Tomato or Tobacco Horn worms. Five of them. Two of them were huge. One of them was in the process of eating one of the tomatoes. I decided to take some photographs before getting rid of them. After getting a few nice shots, I realized I might want to shoot a few more in the morning. Unfortunately, most of the eating so far had been on the productive plant. I set them over on the un-productive plants until morning. I figured that could be their punishment for not producing tomatoes.

I took the image below on the following morning. There was still a lot of leaves on this plant and the back-lighting even made the horn worm glow a little. Right after taking this one of the big worms became active. Through my 180mm macro lens I watched him eat a whole leaf. He ate it like you would eat corn on the cob, but much faster. In less than five minutes the leaf and stem were gone. But I still had to decide what to with these little eating machines. I couldn't help remembering a conversation with our Navajo Guide, Tom, years ago. He was taking us on a morning tour of Monument Valley. While we were talking he mentioned the bugs that were eating some of his small corn crop. I said "why don't you just spray and get rid of them?" He replied "they have a right to live, too". Hmmmmm. Well, I didn't kill the horn worms, but I did throw them over the fence into the neighbors yard! It's a rent house and there probably isn't much to eat over there except the dead grass and the dog poop.