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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Miserable Manduca Monsters!

On my way out to close the chicken coop this evening I was shocked to see that the nicotiana plant that earlier had been blooming so merrily in the flower box on the deck had suddenly lost all its leaves and blooms. As I looked closer, I could see the cause. FOUR Tobacco hornworms (Manduca sexta) were chomping away, leaving mountains of frass behind (you can see it in the picture- it looks like little blackberries). Not just one or two, mind you, but four of those devils! On one poor little plant! Now I know that the hornworms are very useful in research and that they metamorphose into nice sphinx moths that pollinate night blooming flowers, but I'm just not willing to sacrifice my tomatoes and flowering tobacco plants to the cause. These four, red horns and all, have been dispatched to the great caterpillar resting place. I thought about picking them off and tossing them into the chicken run, but since Sam and Monique had already gone in for the evening, I figured the little devils would crawl out and start in on my tomatoes before the chickens got to them.

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