David started working while I was finishing up some things inside, and he came back inside after a few minutes saying, "Grab the camera. There are HUGE green caterpillars on the tomato plants." I said, "Will I be creeped out?" and he replied, "Yeah, most likely."
Ok, sufficiently creeped out! Am I the only one who sees all the "eyes" staring at me? Honestly I didn't even know if I could write this post because my skin crawls every time I look at these photos.
It's so funny, because my friend Sonja over at Lally Broch Farm wrote about these mysterious critters in this post just a few days ago! (PS - Sonja is giving away a few more samples of her handmade eucalyptus-scented goats milk soap. Go here to have a sample delivered to you. I can't wait to get mine!)
I did some research on these caterpillars and found that they are known as tomato hornworms due to the red horn on their tail end.
These worms eat the tomatoes and the plant itself, leaving the plant looking like the branches were cut off with scissors (maybe what I previously thought was deer damage was actually hornworms?). Apparently the best way to prevent them from snacking on your plants is to keep the weeds from growing around your tomatoes. Oops. The weeds act as a breeding ground for these little buggers. Also keeping a close eye on your plants so you notice any worms early on will keep them from decimating your harvest.
The caterpillars eventually morph into the five-spotted hawk moth (photo here) but David didn't let ours get that far. Let's just say the chickens had some special treats over the weekend.