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The Tomato Or Tabacco Worm

This insect is often very destructive to tomatoes and tobacco. Most country boys and girls know it and fear its ugly looking horn. When full grown it is four inches long, usually dark green with a number of slanting white lines along either side. It is so near the color of the plants that it is difficult to see it.

Egg of Tomato worm moth enlarged.

During the summer month

the worms are common, being most abundant in August. In the fall the mature worms go into the ground and change from the worm to a large, oval, brown pupa with a jug-handle-like appendage on the under side. These are often turned up when the garden is plowed in the spring. After tomato plants are well started the large greyish humming-bird-like moths comes from the ground and begin laying eggs. The moth expands from four to six inches and is often seen at dusk visiting the blossoms of "jimson weed" and other large tube flowers. They are also found around lights at night.

Young tomato worm.

Where they are troublesome the plants should either be sprayed with a poison when the injury is first noticed or else the worms should be picked off and destroyed. There is a small parasitic wasp which is very helpful in destroying this caterpillar. They live inside the worm and when mature bore out through the skin on the sides and back where they spin small white egg-like cocoons from which later the small wasps emerge. Often a hundred or more may come out of one worm.