The Tomato Hornworm is a large caterpillar that feeds on tomato plants. It gets its name from the horn-like tail that protrudes from its rear end. These pests are voracious eaters and can quickly defoliate a plant. They also chew holes in ripe fruits, making them unappetizing to consumers.
Gardeners often find tomato hornworms munching on their plants. Another telltale sign that you have an infestation is the presence of frass.
This is the scientific term for caterpillar poop, and it looks like black pellets. You may find frass on the ground around your plants or on the leaves themselves.
What Does Tomato Hornworm Poop Look Like?
Unlike other types of caterpillar poop, frass is not liquid. Tomato hornworm poop is dry and crumbly. It resembles black pellets or coffee grounds, and it often has a green tint. If you suspect that you have an infestation, take a closer look at the frass to confirm its identity.
If you rub it between your fingers, it will leave a green stain. This is primarily because of the caterpillar’s diet, which consists mainly of leaves.
What to Do When You See Tomato Hornworm Poop in Your Garden?
If you see frass on your tomato plants, don’t panic! While an infestation of these pests can do serious damage to your crop, there are a few things you can do to get rid of them.
One of the simplest methods is to handpick the caterpillars from your plants. This is by far the simplest and the most effective way to get rid of them.
While Tomato Hornworms may seem like a nuisance, their poop can actually be quite helpful! The frass is high in nitrogen and makes an excellent fertilizer for your garden. If you have an infestation, consider composting the frass to give your plants a boost.
Tomato Hornworm Poop as Compost
Tomato hornworms are voracious eaters, and their poop is full of nutrients that plants love. If you have an abundance of hornworms in your garden, you can put their poop to good use by using it as compost.
Simply collect the droppings and mix them into your compost pile. The hornworm poop will break down quickly, adding much-needed nutrients to your soil.
Additionally, you can use the frass as a top dressing for your plants. Simply sprinkle it around the base of the plant and water it in. The nitrogen in the frass will help to green up your plants and give them a boost of energy.
Whether you compost it or use it as a top dressing, tomato hornworm poop is a valuable resource for gardeners. If you have these pests in your garden, don’t be afraid to put their droppings to good use!
Tomato hornworm poop: Final Thoughts
Most gardeners hate the fact that Tomato Hornworms exist. However, their poop can actually be quite helpful to your garden. It is high in nitrogen and makes an excellent fertilizer for your plants.
If you have an infestation, consider composting the frass to give your garden a boost. Carefully search your plants for the caterpillars and manually take them out by hand.
Alternatively, you can use a pesticide – although this should be a last resort. If you have tomato hornworms in your garden, take advantage of their poop and put it to good use! Your plants will thank you for it.
Related Article: Where do Tomato Hornworms Go During The Day?