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bent over in laughter and amusement. He was such a prankster.

After a quick Google search, I realized tomato and tobacco hornworms are closely related species that look similar. Tomato hornworms are the larval stage of the five spotted hawkmoth (Manduca quinquemaculata) and tobacco hornworms are the larval stage of the Carolina sphinx moth (Manduca sexta). Given the worms’ brilliant green color, you’d think the moths would be green, but nature doesn’t work that way. The moths are a brownish gray color with markings.

The hornworms eating our tomato plants are actually tobacco hornworms — the identifying feature being that tobacco hornworms have a red horn (that little spike that sticks up like Alfalfa’s hair on the Little Rascals) on the backs of their bodies. Tomato hornworms have a black, gray or blue horn.

We’ll still have a bountiful harvest of ruby red tomatoes next week, but the hornworms have kind of rained on my parade. I must remain vigilant and continue to monitor the garden for these hungry critters, who’ve made me feel like the Wicked Witch of the West. I gaze out my window toward my vegetable garden, point my finger at my tomato vines, and whisper softly, “I’ll get you my pretty! That’s a promise!”

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