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Discussion Starter #1
I have noticed 3 tomato plants that are in one area together that have been almost totally defoliated of their leaf growth in just the last few days.
I don't think it could be flea beetles. The only few pests I've noticed is grasshoppers, but generally all the other tomato and garden plants look very well and leafed out. These few plants did undergo some wet weather stress in June just after being set out, but so did a few others in another area that look fine now.

What can eat up tomato leaves that fast?
 

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Look closely for tomatoe hornworms.
 

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yep, tomato hornworms. I get them every year, but I do not bother them. I also get the parasitic wasp that will eventually kill the hornworms. If you see white rice shaped things lined up on the back of the hornworm, those are the wasps, and they will kill the hornworm.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks.
I've never had hornworms before in my other gardens previously here. This is a new spot for a garden, and it surprises me. I'll keep my eyes peeled for the hornworms. At least they should be big enough to see. Are they seen in the daytime, or do they come out at night to do the damage? How's the best way to control these? I'll check also for the eggs if wasps are doing their 'thing'.
 

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they are hugh, but tough to find, they look like a tomato stem. Actually they are kinda ripply. I'll look for a photo to post.
 

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this photo was taken last year, my wasps are not out yet.
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moonwolf said:
What can eat up tomato leaves that fast?
Blister beetles can do that. If you've got a lot of grasshoppers around, you may also have blister beetles.

Martin
 

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It will be easy to tell if you have blister beetles or tomato hornworm. You have hornworms if you have large sections of the leaves just gone. Blister beetles take much smaller bites and leave large amounts of their poop around.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So far, I haven't noticed any poop droppings or insect larva or beetles.
So far only a couple of slugs nearby, and one on a tomato plant, but I can't see how that could be causing such quick defoliation of an entire plant within a day or two?
I have seen slugs before, so it's probably not the main culprit I'm looking for yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Okay, after my last post, I went out at night and took pictures of the defoliated plants and finally found this:



Here it is on top of a plant doing it's 'defoliating' work:



It's not green. It's brown and, well as it appears in the picture and about 2 inches long and around about the size of a small nightcrawler.
I saw several on the stem of the plant next to the one on the picture. Time to get picking!
 

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Alright, I totaly get the whole pracitic wasp thing, and I don't want the hornworms to eat my plants... but seeing all of those egg cases on the worms makes me feel sorry for the little buggers! I know, I am crazy, but I can't help it. *shudder!* *grin*
God bless you and yours
Deb
 
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