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Sports & Outdoors >> Gardening

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MsH
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Honkin' green caterpillars?
      #1351005 - 07/28/08 12:33 PM (71.62.140.235)

I came home from a weekend in NYC to find my bananna pepper plants stripped down to just the stem with nothing left but two honkin' green caterpillars sitting on the nekkid mini-tree.

I took the plant out to the woods, caterpillars and all, and dumped the root ball and stick in the woods.

A couple of days later, I found two of my tomatoes munched on. I found one of those bright green caterpillars on my tomato plant. I took that plant out to the woods and cut off the branch the mutant was on, left him, the branch, and two half-eaten maters in the woods with him. This was after trying to pry him off, spray him off with a high-pressure water, and also trying to beat him off with a stick. He wouldn't let go, so I just sacrificed that branch.

Now I'm finding my radish leaves getting eaten, but I can't find any caterpillars.

Any idea where these nasty things came from and how to get rid of them? They look very tropical and I've never seen them in VA before.

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kshaman
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: MsH]
      #1351008 - 07/28/08 12:35 PM (158.106.48.10)

7 dust.

Melathion spray on stuff you don't plan to eat.


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MsH
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: kshaman]
      #1351019 - 07/28/08 12:46 PM (71.62.140.235)

I swear these buggers had horns.

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kshaman
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: MsH]
      #1351023 - 07/28/08 12:49 PM (158.106.48.10)

That's why they're called "horned caterpillars."



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MsH
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: kshaman]
      #1351028 - 07/28/08 12:52 PM (71.62.140.235)

yep. That's them. They REALLY like bannana peppers. They haven't made it to my squash, canteloupe, cucumbers or watermelon yet, but they've tried to get my maters and now my radishes.

Now I'm gonna have nightmares.

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Hawkrider
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: kshaman]
      #1351031 - 07/28/08 12:53 PM (74.214.39.191)

I was searching Google images for that ugly bugger. I had those on my tomatoes a couple years ago. Destroyed almost all my tomatoes.

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kshaman
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: Hawkrider]
      #1351034 - 07/28/08 12:54 PM (158.106.48.10)

They are ravenous and tough.

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Hawkrider
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: kshaman]
      #1351039 - 07/28/08 01:00 PM (74.214.39.191)

Quote:

They are ravenous and tough.




And icky


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MsH
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: Hawkrider]
      #1351047 - 07/28/08 01:06 PM (71.62.140.235)

....and they have horns.






and fangs







and bad intentions.




















I freakin' hate 'em.

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bbc
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: MsH]
      #1352500 - 07/30/08 07:16 PM (72.209.239.4)

Those big green caterpillars on your tomatoes are tomato horn-worms.

You may pluck them off with your fingers; they are harmless (towards you).
They eat tomatoes and things related to tomatoes.
I think your radishes and squash are same from them.

If you see one with those freaky white pods on it, don't pluck it, just leave it. That caterpillar is toast, and each white pod contains a baby tiny wasp that attacks these caterpillars.

Tobacco hornworms are similar (or same?).

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Clovis is again making noises about having me banned. So if you see me suddenly seeming unnaturally quiet and unresponsive...


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Hawkrider
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: bbc]
      #1352518 - 07/30/08 07:49 PM (74.214.39.191)

Quote:

If you see one with those freaky white pods on it, don't pluck it, just leave it. That caterpillar is toast, and each white pod contains a baby tiny wasp that attacks these caterpillars




Are you serious? I have been especially violently attacking those, because I thought they were babies of that vile worm critter.


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bbc
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: Hawkrider]
      #1352735 - 07/31/08 06:26 AM (72.209.239.4)

Quote:

Quote:

If you see one with those freaky white pods on it, don't pluck it, just leave it. That caterpillar is toast, and each white pod contains a baby tiny wasp that attacks these caterpillars




Are you serious? I have been especially violently attacking those, because I thought they were babies of that vile worm critter.



Totally serious.

How it all starts: The momma wasp finds one of those caterpillars when it's smaller, and lays eggs in/on it. The baby wasp maggots burrow into the caterpillar, and slowly eat the caterpillar from the inside, even as the caterpillar continues to eat your tomatoes and grow. Eventually, the growing wasp maggots overwhelm the caterpillar, and when they are grown enough, they each burrow back out through the caterpillar's skin, and spin a white cocoon around themselves. There each one pupates, and eventually hatches out into a wasp that flies away to start it all over again.

From a gardener's perspective, it's not ideal, but it's pretty good. Caterpillars parasitized by these wasps still do some damage, but not as much as a healthy caterpillar. But unlike all the other healthy caterpillars, one parasitized by these wasps is doomed. It is not going to grow up into a hawkmoth that will lay more caterpillar eggs on your tomatoes. (Do you even ever see a caterpillar still moving/eating once it has white cocoons on its back? I think the caterpillar stops before the cocoons are formed, and never moves again.)

The trick, when picking hornworms off your tomatoes, is to guess which ones have wasp maggots already inside (you'd want to leave those on your tomatoes), and only pick off the healthy caterpillars. I think I read that people think the caterpillars with the straighter horns on their tails are healthy, and the ones with the curved horns are doomed, but that might just be a tale.

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Burqajoint
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: MsH]
      #1356635 - 08/05/08 09:28 PM (63.172.83.18)

A lot of times if you wait, nature will take over and a natural predator will show up.
I always plant more than I need, figuring on critters getting a third and still leaving me plenty.

Unfortunately I got some beast coming in the yard that has eaten the daylights outof my cantaloupe.
Prime suspects is some groundhogs....




.....and to follow on to bbc, wasps eats aphids like a mofo....

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MsH
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: Burqajoint]
      #1356705 - 08/05/08 11:27 PM (71.62.140.235)

Interesting....I've recently discovered a nasty hornet colony near my plants. Those buggers chase me around the yard. While out painting today, I watched them actually chase a bird off. No sign of catapillars lately, though.

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VampireCats
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: MsH]
      #1472266 - 04/05/09 01:05 AM (71.161.61.89)

Quote:

...I took the plant out to the woods, caterpillars and all, and dumped the root ball and stick in the woods.

A couple of days later, I found two of my tomatoes munched on. I found one of those bright green caterpillars on my tomato plant. I took that plant out to the woods and cut off the branch the mutant was on, left him, the branch, and two half-eaten maters in the woods with him...




I won't leave the vile critters alive, but I can't stand to step on them. ICK!

I've cut off the branch, put in in the driveway, and run over the monster. After that, I started taking any I find to the subdivision road in front of the house and let somebody else flatten it.

Get ready, Summer's coming, time to get prepared to protect our veggies!


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masterbeater
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: VampireCats]
      #1472331 - 04/05/09 09:58 AM (76.123.52.221)

I like to put mine on a rock and put the magnifying glass to them. that way I get to watch them silently scream while cooking alive. Just kidding. The terrapin get my melons. the grandkid said Grams that one has legs, and I looked and it did. A turtle was right up inside that melon with his hind legs poking out the back. Of course he went in a box and became the pet for a few days. he got poked and screamed at by 5 year olds for a week. we let him go and he went out to the road and committed suicide. The end.

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kimcmitch
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: masterbeater]
      #1472332 - 04/05/09 10:05 AM (173.72.212.219)

funny

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DogResqer
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: kimcmitch]
      #1472850 - 04/07/09 02:44 PM (128.38.121.51)

I had one of these monsters on my wheeping cherry a couple years ago. Didn't realize it until a couple branches were totally cleaned of leaves - then I found him and somehow knocked him off of the branch he was clinging to. That is some scary looking mofo - alien-looking to me.

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VampireCats
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: DogResqer]
      #1493401 - 06/15/09 01:03 PM (71.168.3.108)

Anybody seen any of these monsters yet this year?

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MsH
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: VampireCats]
      #1493403 - 06/15/09 01:11 PM (76.123.50.231)

I haven't. Thankfully.

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masterbeater
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: MsH]
      #1493407 - 06/15/09 01:39 PM (76.123.52.221)

no, I haven't seen the worm yet this year.

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Maxsmom64
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: masterbeater]
      #1493409 - 06/15/09 01:51 PM (65.210.16.2)

Ohhh, I'm so sorry!

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countrybumpkin
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: Maxsmom64]
      #1493427 - 06/15/09 04:36 PM (72.73.45.120)

Yes!@#@#@@

Two of the fat little buggers ate my fennel.


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masterbeater
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: countrybumpkin]
      #1493435 - 06/15/09 06:01 PM (76.123.52.221)

careful, the swallowtail butterfly caterpillar loves fennel.

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countrybumpkin
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Re: Honkin' green caterpillars? [Re: masterbeater]
      #1493448 - 06/15/09 08:23 PM (72.73.45.120)

I googled the critter, it wasn't a butterfly.

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