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Hornworms Really Tick Me Off

August 26, 2009

I hate horn-worms.

Their name is a misnomer. They aren’t even worms, they are caterpillars. Big, nasty, and eat everything they come into contact with.

As a kid, I knew them as ‘tomato worms’ because almost every summer my Dad would plant tomatoes and defend his precious plants from them. They never really bothered me then, mostly because my father took care of it.

As an adult, I have realized I have an almost irrational fear and disgust of them. This summer has been tough battling drought, but when the worms moved in on my meager tomatoes like a free salad bar, I was mad. Now, I have discovered sweet potato horn-worms on my morning glories. I had never bothered to do any investigating on the creatures, but did learn that they ‘sometimes emit an unpleasant odor’. Today I found out that is a serious understatement! While surveying the damage caused overnight, I smelled something like manure. Oh great, something wrong with the compost. No. The little green demons grew into giant, black horrors. They remind me of fat snakes. And ‘odor’ isn’t the word for it. I thought the neighbors had spread copious amounts of manure in their yard!

My solution was to arm my husband with garden gloves and a bucket of soapy water. I chide the man for getting creeped out by chickens, but I think I’ll relent on that because of my disgust for these caterpillars.

My husband has put on the grown-up panties around here and gone out twice to rescue my morning glories. I have dubbed him ‘The Worminator’.

Oh, and I think the smell might be the compost. Damn.

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