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Old 07-17-2011, 08:19 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,855

Hello T'Mater,
Ya, those look like the same large caterpillars we would often see on our large tomato plants back in California. I just used to pluck them off, and flush them down the toilet when I saw them. We had large plants, and they didn't seem to pose much problem when just hand picking them off. But if you have a more severe problem and want to use beneficial insects, I also agree that I don't think the Mantis will work well. I understand the Mantis eat just about everything they can catch (smaller than they are), but the horn worms are quite large for them to eat (unless they eat them before they get that big).

But I have read about parasitic wasp in the past. Parasitic wasps range in size from the size of about aphids (even as small as white fly's), to over an inch long. They don't actually sting, but use their so called stinger to inject insects with their egg/s. Those eggs then feed on the insect, killing it (even insects much larger than the parasitic wasp). There seems to be a species of parasitic wasp that kill most insects. In the article you posted they mention "braconid wasp" as a species that kill the horn worm. I know parasitic wasps are generally host specific, that is they infect specific insects (hosts) with their young, and I don't know the names of species that kill the horn worm. But I would contact company's that sell beneficial insects, and ask them if they have a parasitic wasp for horn worms. There are many places that sell beneficial insects online, and ship them directly to you.
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