Contrary to popular belief, tomato hornworms pose no threat whatsoever. They neither sting nor bite, so you have nothing to fear. Though it looks intimidating, the tomato hornworm is harmless to humans and animals. It only feeds on plants which can cause damage to your garden.
Rather than that if you are unfortunate enough to find one on your tomato plants, you can simply remove it by hand or through away soapy water or kerosene water.
Tomato hornworms are large, but not strong enough to break through human skin. So feel free to garden in peace knowing that these bugs pose no harm to you.
Tomato Hornworm: Is It Harmful To Animals?
Though tomato hornworms are not harmful to humans, they can be dangerous to certain animals. Animals such as chickens, ducks, and other farm animals may consume the worms (large amounts)while grazing in your garden or eating your tomatoes. The large size of the worm could cause a blockage in the digestive tract which can then lead to death.
Well, I guess, If you have any animals in your garden, it would be best to take the extra step and remove any hornworms you find before they become a problem.
If your garden doesn’t contain any animals, then the tomato hornworm poses no threat to you and your plants. As long as you are vigilant in checking for the pest, it should not be a problem.
Is It Safe To Keep Tomato Hornworms in a Garden?
The answer to this question is no.
Because Tomato hornworms can cause a significant amount of damage to tomato plants and other vegetables in the garden. They can quickly eat through entire plants, stripping them of their leaves and fruits. When the plant leaves is yellowing, their occurrence is limited.
In addition, the hornworm will fatten up and lastly, it will enter a cocoon stage and start to pupate. The caterpillar will then emerge as an adult hawk moth, which can further reproduce and damage the garden.
Moreover, sometimes the hornworms are attacked by braconid wasps due to the presence of hornworms in the garden. These wasps lay eggs in the bodies of hornworms, eventually killing them and leaving their carcasses behind.
Therefore, even though it might be tempting to keep Tomato Hornworms around as a sort of natural pest control, it is not safe for your garden due to the damage they can cause.
Can I Keep Tomato Hornworms as Pets?
Yes, Tomato Hornworms can make great pets. They are relatively easy to care for, as long as you provide them with plenty of food as green leaves.
However, it is important to remember that hornworms are still wild animals, so they can become aggressive if mishandled. It’s best to handle them carefully and keep an eye on them while they’re out of their enclosure.
Also, keep in mind that once the hornworms turn into moths, they can no longer be kept as pets. So if you plan on keeping them for a long period, it’s best to take them back outside or release them into the wild when the time comes.
Overall, Tomato Hornworms can make fascinating pets. Just be sure to handle them carefully and keep an eye on them every now and then. This way you can have a healthy relationship with your pet hornworm.
How Many Types of Tomato Hornworms Are There?
There are two types of Tomato Hornworms — the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) and the tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata). Both species look very similar, however, there are some distinguishable differences.
The most obvious difference between these two is that the tobacco hornworm has diagonal white stripes on its sides and a red horn, while the tomato hornworm has V-shaped markings and a black horn.
In addition, the larvae of these two species tend to feed on different types of plants. The tobacco hornworm prefers to feed on tobacco plants, while the tomato hornworm feeds mainly on tomato plants as well as peppers, chili, and potato leaves.
Will Tomato Hornworms Hurt Humans?
No, tomato hornworms will not hurt humans. Because they are so small, their bites would be too weak to break human skin. However, the large size of some tomato hornworm larvae can make them intimidating and uncomfortable for some people. The good news is that these worms do not possess any poisonous or dangerous properties.
Although they will not hurt humans, it is important to be aware of the other risks that can arise from the infestations of tomato hornworms. These worms can cause significant causes if your skin is allergic to them.
By the way, if you’re not comfortable dealing with these worms, you can always call an exterminator to help with the infestation.
Wrap It Up:
Tomato hornworm or Tobacco hornworm, both are harmless for humans as well as animals. All you can do is keep an eye on them if they are located in your garden. And keep safe your growing from their touch.
I am a graduate of Bangladesh Agricultural University, where I delved into various agricultural disciplines, equipping me with a profound understanding of agriculture. Beyond academics, I have hands-on experience in gardening and crop cultivation. My passion is to embrace sustainable farming and horticulture. With a BSc in Agriculture, I am dedicated to promoting environmentally conscious and efficient agrarian practices.
Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Agriculture (Hons.)
Master of Science. (Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security ) (MS)
Bangladesh Agricultural University