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Horned Tomato Worms

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Question: 1288-3415
We have been using straw bales for our vegetables for a number of years. Lately we have been noticing a lot of horned tomato worms on our plants. Any thoughts on how to get rid of them? Jay, Santa Fe, NM

Mort's Answer:
Raised beds and straw bales are becoming popular in the southwest. Soaking the bales for a week in liquid fertilizer helps break down the fiber to create soil. In the northeast folks use a a lot of salt marsh hay as a mulch in soils. This provides excellent soil with micro nutrients for great tomatoes. You could pick them off by hand. They are hard to locate because of their green skin. They are too large for most birds and you not want to use an insecticide on the tomatoes. Burning them with a cigarette lighter works. The moths are laying their eggs in the bales. You can spray sevin on the moths but not the bales. You might consider raised beds for next year.

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