Experienced tomato growers are likely to be familiar with hornworms inflicting damage on their plants. Tobacco hornworms are the most common hornworm found on tomatoes grown in Gulf Coast gardens. Pictured here is a tomato hornworm.

After weeks of shelter-at-home actions because of the COVID-19 crisis, home tomato growers are especially gratefully to be able to harvest the tasty fruits of their labors. The one fly in the ointment for tomato growers this time of year is a pale green caterpillar with black and white markings — the voracious hornworm.

If you have grown tomatoes for several years, you are likely to have had an encounter with hornworms. Tomato growers in Galveston County typically experience their first encounter with this insect pest during June.

Dr. William M. Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County Office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Visit his Web site at http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.html

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