Thursday, October 25, 2012

What do you do with Hornworms after you have caught them?

Fat and Juicy Hornworms
Do you have a little pent up anger towards the many pests and critters that take advantage of all your hard work in the garden?

Anyone who has grown tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and other members of the Nightshade Family (Solanaceae), have run into the dreaded Hornworm at some point.  These big, fat, fleshy green caterpillars have been known to devour the leaves and fruit on these plants.  They are distinctive with their black and white striping and the little red horn on their trailing end.

Tomato Hornworm Fact Sheet

Given their bright green color they can be hard to detect until they sit fat and happy on the lone branches left on the plant.  Constant vigilance in checking your plants can keep them at bay, especially when you notice leaves being chomped.  Marigolds have been known to keep them at a distance, and apparently they even glow under black lights at night.

So what does one do with hornworms after they have been caught?

The other day while visiting our local reptile store with my son and a friend of his, I noticed a container with several very large hornworms feeding on some grotesque leafy mixture.  When I asked the store owner what he used them for, he said that Bearded Dragons love them.

Funny...we have a Bearded Dragon at home.

So for 50 cents my son and his friend gleefully took one home and immediately fed it to our Dragon.  After about 3 seconds of measuring up this fat, green treat, the Dragon inhaled it with four or five quick chews, sat down in the corner and took a nap.

Below are a few images of our Dragon having his meal, this should be good therapy for those who have suffered the damage of feeding hornworms.  It is kind of a funny encounter of two living creatures that would never find each other in their natural habitats.

Going in for the kill...

First Bite!

Man, this is going to be a big bite.

Almost there

Time for a nap.


  1. My chickens love hornworms. They fight over them, with one usually snatching it from another's mouth and then racing to a far corner to eat it. Much as I hate hornworms, I do enjoy collecting a few at a time so that more than one of my girls will have the treat. I keep a plastic container in the garden to pt them in. They love overgrown zucchini, too.

  2. Great idea! And I can imagine my own boys at an earlier age being absolutely fascinated by the spectacle.

  3. Ha ha! This reminded me of the good old days when we had a pet gecko. Actually, he was a family member for 15 years, and all that time we hand caught crickets, moths, and other insects for him. But he would never eat even the juiciest worm. He would lick the thing from end to end but never take a bite. The worm could even crawl across his snout and still the gecko would let it escape unharmed.