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Hawk Moths, Tomato Hornworms, and Nightshade



 
 
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  #1  
Old 11-08-2003, 08:22 AM
Archie Ritter
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Default Hawk Moths, Tomato Hornworms, and Nightshade

I have a patch of Four O'clocks which are often visited after dark by hawk
moths. My cats love to catch them and release them in the house and then
run around watching as they bump against the ceiling. sarcasm Isn't it
wonderful discovering new wildlife when you have cats?

But the moth population seems devastated some years. One year I only saw
one, and this year have seen none. There was a recent message that
encouraged people to leave zebra-striped caterpillars on parsley because
they became butterflies, so I looked on Google to find what hawk moths eat
so that I could encourage their population. I found this link:
http://inside.binghamton.edu/May-Jun...sresearch.html

shock Hawk moths are hornworms! They eat the family of plants which
includes the potato, tomato, petunia, tobacco, and eggplant.

But the good news is that they prefer nightshade if they can find it.
Should we grow poisonous nightshade to protect tomatoes? And tomatoes like
to self-pollinate, but should we be concerned about cross pollination if we
save seed?


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  #2  
Old 11-08-2003, 01:32 PM
SugarChile
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Default Hawk Moths, Tomato Hornworms, and Nightshade

You don't say where you live, but here in my part of PA there's plenty of
deadly nightshade in the wild. Any woodsy edge or weedy spot is likely to
have some, and it's probably not a good idea to introduce it into your
cultivated areas. A better plant to try and sacrifice to the hornworms
might be nicotiana, flowering tobacco. The older varieties like, Nicotiana
sylvestris, with the huge, delicious smelling flowers also attract a lot of
moths. I've never personally seen hornworms on mine, though, so I'm not
certain it's attractive to them; it's a nice plant regardless.

The only plants I've ever seen hornworms on are tomatoes, and I like to
leave a few of them undisturbed just for the sake of the moths. I've never
had a serious infestation of them--plenty of garden birds, perhaps--I might
feel differently about it if I did.

Kudos to you for educating your self and caring.

Cheers,
Sue

Zone 6, Southcentral PA


"Archie Ritter" wrote in message
...
I have a patch of Four O'clocks which are often visited after dark by hawk
moths. My cats love to catch them and release them in the house and then
run around watching as they bump against the ceiling. sarcasm Isn't it
wonderful discovering new wildlife when you have cats?

But the moth population seems devastated some years. One year I only saw
one, and this year have seen none. There was a recent message that
encouraged people to leave zebra-striped caterpillars on parsley because
they became butterflies, so I looked on Google to find what hawk moths eat
so that I could encourage their population. I found this link:
http://inside.binghamton.edu/May-Jun...sresearch.html

shock Hawk moths are hornworms! They eat the family of plants which
includes the potato, tomato, petunia, tobacco, and eggplant.

But the good news is that they prefer nightshade if they can find it.
Should we grow poisonous nightshade to protect tomatoes? And tomatoes

like
to self-pollinate, but should we be concerned about cross pollination if

we
save seed?




  #3  
Old 11-08-2003, 07:32 PM
Archie Ritter
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Hawk Moths, Tomato Hornworms, and Nightshade


"SugarChile" wrote...
You don't say where you live, but here in my part of PA there's plenty of
deadly nightshade in the wild. Any woodsy edge or weedy spot is likely to
have some, and it's probably not a good idea to introduce it into your
cultivated areas.


I live 10 miles from the Arkansas-Missouri border. Nightshade is common
here as well. I checked some by my fence and saw no caterpiller damage.

The only plants I've ever seen hornworms on are tomatoes, and I like to
leave a few of them undisturbed just for the sake of the moths. I've

never
had a serious infestation of them--plenty of garden birds, perhaps--I

might
feel differently about it if I did.


Same here, I only found one hornworm stripping leaves from a tomato one
year, and I destroyed it. If there are enough plants in the future I may
leave it or, better yet, try to relocate it to some nightshade.




 




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