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pests Feeding hornworms, as strange as it may sound...

This year has been insane for all types of pests here in S Florida, non stop attack on my plants.
 
Well, not sure it will work but have lots of time for this little experiment...
 
After seeing my wasp infested massive Tomato hornworm get eaten by a Red Cardinal, wasp cocoons and all,, decide to try something new.
 
So made up a few containers with screens on top. Put some nice but already damaged pepper leafs in container along with a  braconid wasp parasitized hornworm. Hoping the little wasps hatch they can escape the screen and go on to protect my garden..? Man those worms are hungry non stop eaters, although once the wasp larvae take hold it way slows down the feeding.
 
A little hard to see but here are a couple pics of my setup....
 
tzI2th0.jpg

 
BU86nx6.jpg
 
That's the kind of stuff a good gardener does.  You observe, experiment, adapt.  It's weird to some, considering that they could just go buy a bottle of some harsh stuff that was discovered as a byproduct of our chemical weapons program, and it would be over with.  But this is how you learn to build a sustainable, life long solution.  Nature always gives us a way, if we're willing to look for it.
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For everyone else, I guess they can just enjoy their McPods. :D
 
Well, learned something new...
 
Can't put multiple big hornworms in the same container... They practice cannibalism..!!!
 
Put 3, 2-3" newly parasitized hornworms all in 1 large screened off container with a load of leafs and a few fallen rotten reapers/savina. They ate it all, peppers too,  in 1 nite,,, fugging amazing how much these guys can chow down. But now there was only 1 worm..? No way 2 escaped. But the missing guys had the most wasps on their back, and the sole survivor hornworm's wasp larvae were missing, all wasps gone off his back..?  Not even a scrap of hornworm juice or wasp larvae anywhere to be found.,  licked the plate clean...
 
With mouth parts that can chow down like that wonder if I should be more cautious handling them,,, do they bite people..?
 
Here is a pic of last worm standing, finishing off what was a huge rotten reaper... For those that don't know, the little black/brown balls are what the worms excrete. Its always been black, till this morning after a nite of cannibalism, now its tan/brown. If you see these little balls around your plants, look up as a hornworm is sure to be close by...
 
JYvptIu.jpg
 
acs1 said:
Well, learned something new...
 
Can't put multiple big hornworms in the same container... They practice cannibalism..!!!
 
Put 3, 2-3" newly parasitized hornworms all in 1 large screened off container with a load of leafs and a few fallen rotten reapers/savina. They ate it all, peppers too,  in 1 nite,,, fugging amazing how much these guys can chow down. But now there was only 1 worm..? No way 2 escaped. But the missing guys had the most wasps on their back, and the sole survivor hornworm's wasp larvae were missing, all wasps gone off his back..?  Not even a scrap of hornworm juice or wasp larvae anywhere to be found.,  licked the plate clean...
 
With mouth parts that can chow down like that wonder if I should be more cautious handling them,,, do they bite people..?
 
Here is a pic of last worm standing, finishing off what was a huge rotten reaper... For those that don't know, the little black/brown balls are what the worms excrete. Its always been black, till this morning after a nite of cannibalism, now its tan/brown. If you see these little balls around your plants, look up as a hornworm is sure to be close by...
 
 
 
Most of the large caterpillars are cannibalistic.  Hornworms aren't all that much so, until they reach a good size.  Cutworms, on the other hand, always seek to be a party of one.  Which is arguably why they are much less of a problem than hornworms.
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You're not likely to get bitten by them.  Or at least I never have.  Although, you were afraid of losing a digit to the Cuban Knight Anoles, so you may want to be careful :D
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And those little "Donkey Kong Barrels" that they leave behind are always a tell tale clue.  I just assumed that everyone scouted for them.  But yeah, if you don't already...
 

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