A Tomato Grower’s Best Friend

Parasitic larvae feeding on tomato hornworm
Parasitic larvae feeding on tomato hornworm found on my tomato plant

As you look for that first tomato this summer, and you find a tomato hornworm with white rice shaped projections emerging from it that look like aliens, leave it alone! This is nature taking care of a pesky caterpillar that you don’t want to be eating your tomato plants.

The parasitic wasp that does this is a Braconid that is attracted to gardens with flowering plants where they co-exist with other beneficial insects and animals.

A parasitic wasp of the Braconidae family
A parasitic wasp of the Braconidae family (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By depositing her eggs on the back of an unsuspecting caterpillar, the larvae have a ready food supply to nourish them to grow and pupate, eating the caterpillar alive!

Companion planting of herbs and flowers in a veggie garden is helpful in keeping your garden healthy and free of pests. The pollen and nectar of these flowers attract beneficial predators that will feed on some pesky insects that feed on your veggies. Now I just have to find something like this that will feed on Stinkbugs!!

English: Tomato Hornworm photographed after re...
English: Tomato Hornworm photographed after removing from tomato plant. Battle Creek, Michigan, 04 Aug 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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