Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tomato Hornworm

Hornworms have voracious appetites. If you find that your perfect tomato suddenly looks like it became an all-you-can-eat buffet, the culprit is most likely hornworms (who have no problem eating either the leaves of fruits of tomato plants.)

Most of the above information was written either by myself or insect expert Debbie Hadley, who is a colleague of mine at I hope the photos, descriptions of damage, and organic control options outlined in each article help you keep your garden healthy and bountiful.

Squash Vine Borer

Your perfectly healthy zucchini or pumpkin has a withered vine here and there. Cut open the vine just about where the problem starts, and you'll probably find the grayish-white larva known as squash vine borer. The good news is that once you find them, you can halt the damage. Simply slice the vine open and dig the borer out. Then you can trim off any yellow or wilted parts of the stem, and bury the rest in the soil. It will grow new roots, and keep growing happily.

Squash Bug

Yellow spots on the leaves of your pumpkins, winter squash, or summer squash are one sign of squash bugs. Another is wilting vines, or vines that wither and turn black. It can be a bit confusing, because the symptoms (wilting vines) are easily confused with that of squash vine borer (below). One good way to determine the difference is to look for dusty looking frass (dropping) on the stems -- that's usually an indicator of vine borer rather than squash bugs.


The main crop that slugs damage in most gardens is lettuce. These slimy pests just can't get enough of my Amish Deertongue lettuce. Happily, they're fairly easy to get rid of. You can hand pick and squish them, handpick and throw them into a bucket of soapy water, let them drown in some beer, or use a grapefruit rind to trap them.

Mexican Bean Beetle

It's late summer, and the foliage on your beans is reduced to almost nothing but the veins. Look under any remaining leaves, and you'll probably find a Mexican bean beetle larva or two. Mexican Bean Beetles are found just about everywhere in the U.S.