The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Parasitic protection

tomato horn worm close up with parasitic wasp

Learn to keep bugs at bay Tomato hornworms can do some serious damage if left unchecked.

The Braconid wasp can do even more damage to the hornworm by attaching white egg sacs to its body.

Maybe the work we did this last winter to attract native pollinators helped to increase our parasitic wasp population?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I've only ever seen one of these in the 30+ years I have lived near the Rockies. They are indeed creepy but recently I read they turned into the sphinx or hummingbird moth, which is the most beautiful creature ever. I saw one of those one summer, only once. For that reason, I'm going to leave any future ones I see alone. However, I don't have many to contend with.
Comment by Heather Fri Aug 17 20:30:52 2012
Heather --- They've never been a problem for us either, and I tend to leave even the one or two unparasitized ones I see. But we have plenty of parasites to eat them up! Some gardeners report that their plants become totally defoliated by hornworms.
Comment by anna Fri Aug 17 22:30:13 2012
I have found about eight in my tomato patch this year. All but one of them was completely covered by these parasitic wasps. It is really nice to see that my efforts in planting flowers that attract these wasps has paid off.
Comment by sarah Sat Aug 18 14:06:19 2012
I don't know what attracted to wasp to my garden - perhaps it's the marigolds - but I'm glad to see the eggs all over that hornworm that I found.
Comment by ruth Mon Sep 3 17:46:44 2012
Ruth --- Isn't it wonderful when the garden ecosystem takes care of itself?
Comment by anna Mon Sep 3 18:18:15 2012

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