Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Have a Pepper Killer In The Garden

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So I am having a great evening in the garden, it is a typical night.  I ate dinner and then went out back to water and harvest whatever is ready.  I take a look at my Coca Cola cooler pepper bed and I notice that 3 of my 5 Hungarian Wax Peppers are stripped to the bone.  There is nothing left but stem and a few peppers.

So I am standing there and trying to figure out what could have caused this and then I look closer and on one of the peppers is a huge green horn worm.  I don't know if it was a tomato or tobacco hornworm, but this guy destroyed three of my pepper plants in one day.  Needless to say I was brutally ruthless in getting rid of him.

I am worried the peppers won't survive, but worse I am afraid of getting horn worms in my actual tomatoes.  I can't really figure out how it got in my peppers because the cooler is pretty tall.  I will have to keep a closer eye on everything.

Look at the peppers in the lower right hand corner.
Can you see him in this picture?

Close up of some of his handy work.

Here he is going to town.


Jenny said...

WOW! that's a large one too! But your peppers should bounce back if it didn't eat the main stem.

Annie*s Granny said...

Boy, he really did a job on those peppers :-(

We used to get huge horn worms on our tomatoes. I mean 4-5" giants! For some reason I haven't seen any around for probably the last five years or more....knock on wood!

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...


Kris said...

Jenny - That is good news and I sure hope they come back. All of the main stems are in tact.

Granny - He sure did some damage, I have never had them either. I had always heard they can strip a plant before you can blink and now I am a believer.

StayatHome - I said the same thing, along with some other stuff I can't repeat. :)

GrafixMuse said...

Great photo of the little beast in progress of eating your peppers. :::shudder::: These creepy guys freak me out.

I do find hornworms on my tomatoes usually later in the season when the plants are established and have many fruit forming. I hand pick these beasts (while wearing gloves) and place them in a container of soapy water.

You will need to keep a look out for them from now on. From my experience, they will munch on peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant…AND they will leave a gross trail of poop behind that will clue you in to their origin. If you see it on the leaves, look above it along the plant and you will be sure to find the hornworm with skeletal foliage around it.

Ugh!!! I hope your peppers recover.

Kris said...

Grafix - NOOOO, not my eggplants too! I can see where these things would be very difficult to spot on a tomato plant as they could hide so easily. Thanks for the tips, I sure hope they don't get into everything else.

Lauren said...

That is a tobacco hornworm. They have stripes down their sides while the tomato hornworm has v's. Nasty little things. I am in Georgia as well and have pulled 4 off of my tomato plants in the last 2 days!!! They certainly make quick work of our plants! I've read that marigolds and dill planted with your peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes can be a deterrent to the moth that lays these aggravating giants. I will be trying that next year. For now, I'm feeling especially paranoid and keep running outside to check on the invasion. Good luck to you.

Bernadine said...

Ohhh Nooooo! How frustrating. I've been warned about these creatures. I'll be checking the tomatoes and peppers a little more carefully. I hope your peppers recover.

Crafty Cristy said...

I saw my first one ever on my tomato plants a couple weeks ago. Yikes! They are scary looking, but they die like bugs.

Farm Girl said...

I didn't know they ate peppers. I have never seen them on mine. Now they did eat a potato bush I had growing next to the house down to sticks but I have never seen them touch peppers. I hope they live, your peppers I mean. Chickens love tomato worms. :)

Ed said...

Wow! I never new that horn worms would attack peppers too! If I remember correctly basil and dill are supposed to repel them. Good luck with the rest your peppers!

Kris said...

Lauren - Thanks I had heard there were differences between the tobacco and tomato horn worms, but never knew what they were. I have marigolds planted around my squash in my SFG but none near these peppers. I may have to stick a few of them up there.

Bernadine - I hope they recover too, they are some pretty nasty and hungry little devils.

Cristy - Yeah, they are certainly alien looking to me, especially with their green blood.

Farm Girl - Yep, I didn't either but I guess this guy did. I hope they live too.

Ed - Thanks, I didn't know that about basil and dill being able to repel them. Hopefully they will recover, I will post something if they do.