Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Very Own Tomato Horn Worm!

I'm very excited!  On our walk today, in the middle of a bunch of corn fields, Cheryl finds a Tomato Horn Worm.  Or better: The larvae of the Five-Spotted Hawk Moth!  I love these guys!  Seriously!  So much so that I, without even a second thought, reached down and saved this little guy from certain death.  I have the perfect place for him to live out the remainder of his brief childhood.   My Very Own Overgrown Tomato Patch!

Now I know there are people out there that think I'm being sarcastic, Or funny,  Or even Crazy Serious!  But the truth is,  I love butterflies and moths.  I love all of God's creatures great and small...( Well, maybe not Mosquitoes....) And it is not like I want to horde all of the tomatoes for myself.   In fact,  I have been frantically giving them away as quickly as I am able!  My tomato plants have produced so many that I have already past my quota for the year and have been urged by Cheryl not to eat any more.  So why not share the bounty?

It's not like they eat a tremendous amount after all.  It's simply a small caterpillar. I have been suspicious for a while that I already had one or two on the plants from the small amounts of leaf loss.  I also have a variable locust storm of crickets and grasshoppers that hang out in my tomato patch.  The crickets are the worst because they actually eat the tomatoes!  ( Along with slugs, fruit flies, small rodents, and any number of other hosts helping themselves to my bounty!)   What is one more worm going to do?

Besides all that,  it has become a race against time for the Hawk Moth.   The tomatoes are turning yellow with the changing season.  If I suddenly had a plague of horn worms that ate my entire patch, it is not like they would be doing much in the over all scheme of things.  The Plants are going to be turning color and dying anyway.  Like I mentioned before, I have already reaped all the tomatoes I need and then some.  The plants are like a conveyer belt and continue to produce more tomatoes than I know what to do with.  If the caterpillar can reap one last meal before transformation time, more power to him. 

As we released this guy into out vast wilderness of twisted tomato vines, I finally found one resident that was about to turn into a chrysalis.  Believe it or not, he is still alive and moving!  I have actually hatched one of these guys out to an adult and the chrysalis is actually pretty cool looking.  Anyway,  I'm happy I could help out  a cool moth, much to the dismay of my tomato growing neighbors, I'm sure.  Then again, they have also had so many tomatoes that they have been
offering them to anyone that passes then in the street! I'm sure they won't even notice if a few leaves from their plants are missing next year. 

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