Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Wasp vs. Hornworm, Turtle vs. Hornworm
This tomato hornworm is toast. Parasitic wasp larvae have fed on his insides just enough to imobilize him, yet keep him alive while they pupate in those tiny coccoons sprouting from his body.
I noticed this one last weekend and yesterday as I was plucking small tomato hornworms off the tomato plants, I found another parasitized caterpillar.
(I scout my tomatoes daily for pests)
I always leave the parasitized caterpillars in place so more wasps are produced to patrol my garden, but the other caterpillars are plucked.
One of the nice things about having a fish/turtle pond in your garden is that as you weed your garden, you can toss pesky organisms into the pond.
My turtles are omnivorous, so they are happy when I toss in some random weeds plucked from the garden, but they are even happier when something squiggly comes their way.
They are very tame since I raised them from eggs, so when a hornworm makes it's appearance on the nearby tomato plants, it provides an opportunity to hand feed the little Chelonians.
You can see that below ...
Oh, and did I mention that today is the last day of school?