Friday I went to go hook up the soaker hoses in the garden and as I was doing so it was then that I noticed the telltale dropping from a tomato hornworm. My stomach sunk because these suckers have a big appetite, can do significant damage and I don't particularly enjoying trying to pick up large squishy bugs. So I searched the plant where the droppings were and low and behold I found this guy. He was holding on for dear life and I was too squeamish to properly pluck him so I just cut the little branch he was on. You can even see the half eaten tomato he was working on. I wrapped him up in that newspaper and swiftly ended his life hoping this would be the only one of the Summer.
Then yesterday I went out and was looking at my Brandywine plant realizing that something had eaten all the small newly forming tomatoes. I was prepared to chalk it up to the deer nibbling on the plants except that as I was surveying the damage I saw this . . .
Another tomato hornworm only this one is covered in parasitic wasp eggs that are feeding on it. The eggs and larvae should take care of this guy for me and create more predators to hunt down any other unwanted pests. It's gross and a bit national geographic but I'm happy to see Mother Nature taking care of her own unruly children.