Ugly, Indeed! Hornworm Caterpillars. They give me the creeps. The willies. The heebie jeebies. They call into question my legitimacy as a nature-loving, earth-hugging garden lady, because I see one and I get all squeamish like a fussy, manicured, city gal. I was so grateful for the 4th-graders who removed them when we found them in the garden.
But NOTHING compares to the level of disgusting we are dealing with now. Because NOW our tomato Hornworm Caterpillars are infected with a PARASITE like unto the movie “Alien.”
Those little white things are eggs. The eggs of the braconid wasp. When they hatch, they will burrow into the caterpillar, eat its insides, killing it as they emerge. The new, thriving population of wasps will keep the caterpillars at bay without my having to pick them off, so we leave these caterpillars out there to support the wasp population.
School Gardens: capturing the minds and imaginations of morbidly fascinated 4th graders everywhere.