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Tobacco Hornworm

The tobacco hornworm is a common garden pest in the southeastern United States. This caterpillar as well as the similar, tomato hornworm, can frequently be found feeding on tomato plants. The tobacco hornworm  has 7 vertical stripes, the tomato hornworm has 8 "V" shaped white markings.

Notice the white parasites that have attached themselves to the caterpillar (below). Each of these small white capsules attached to the caterpillar are wasp pupae that will soon emerge. When caterpillars are found in this stage, they should NOT be removed from the garden. The small wasps will soon emerge and find other hornworms to infect. They are a GREAT natural insecticide for hornworms.

This photo was taken in our garden in Middle Tennessee in July 2006. 


Tobacco Hornworm

Common Name: Tobacco Hornworm
Scientific Name: Manduca sexta
Range: Southern US
Below is the cocoon of the tobacco hornworm. The photo was taken by Todd Ratermann in middle Tennessee on June 21, 2007. The cocoon was found laying on top of freshly turned soil.

The cocoon measures 3" long with a diameter of .740". Also notice the small vertical slits in each section the cocoons right side surface.

 Giant Coccoon From Tennessee

Because of an excellent camouflage, damage from tobacco hornworms is often noticed before the insects are. The frass (insect droppings), seen below, can also be seen below damaged leaves.


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