Is this a tomato hornworm?

Asked June 10, 2020, 6:49 AM EDT

Found on my tomato plant this morning. Could it be a hornworm?

Baltimore County Maryland

10 Responses

No, this is not a hornworm. But the larva of a syrphid fly. They feed on aphids and provide natural pest control. This is not a pest but a good guy or gal.

Deb

Thank you! I'm so paranoid because I'm battling whiteflies and I think everything is out to get my plants, lol!

Can you tell me what's going on here because it looks like alot of different things to me. I don't know what's good or bad and this all looks bad to me!

Okay, you have aphids (bad guys) and that is why you found the syrphid fly larvae as they feed on aphids. On the left-hand side, almost in the middle of the photo is an aphid mummy, to read more about them go here, https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/aphid-parasitoids
So, you have natural pest control going on to some degree.
Whiteflies can be a difficult pest to manage and most likely a bigger problem than the aphids. The following are the links for additional information,
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/aphids-vegetables
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/whiteflies-vegetables

Deb

Thank you for the help! Looks like I have a tough job! I've been spraying with neem oil and did a neem oil soil dump yesterday. I'm going to get yellow sticky cards and buy some lady bugs too. I also found a cucumber beetle on my yellow squash plant today. Ugh. Plus I found a spot where the squirrels are getting into my garden which is fully enclosed by fencing and wildlife netting. I guess this years garden is gonna be my 2nd full time job, lol! Have a great day!

Ok I have some more pics of critters and need some identification. It seems I have a garden zoo, lol!

All that you have going on is normal in a healthy landscape- the more biodiversity, the better.
Your first photo shows a type of leaf gall, perhaps maple bladder gall. They are just harmless tissue swellings. They can be caused by several types of insects, yours is likely from a tiny midge or wasp, which is long gone. Here is a page with more information on galls if you are interested: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/shade-tree-galls#maple
Your second photo shows a type of midge, again, not of concern, and the third photo is out of focus and we are not able to tell what that might be.


Christine

I found a few more critters and could use some help identifying. Also advice for cucumber beetle control. Thank you!

For your cucumber beetles, take a look here: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/cucumber-beetles-spotted-or-striped-vegetables
We have profile pages for each vegetable that you might grow that include care and problems commonly encountered. Your regular monitoring and hand-picking pests (can put into a container of soapy water) is a great start.
Here is the link to the vegetable crops:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/crops
It would be good for you to familiarize yourself with the pages for the crops you are growing, especially the "common problems" section. 80-90% of the insects in your garden are good guys that can be observed but left alone. The ones listed as pests are the ones you can plan for and manage appropriately. Finding an insect pest on your plant is normal and common. Just pick them off and keep an eye out for eggs (of the pest- you will find eggs of beneficial insects too sometimes) that you can remove (can even just tear part of the leaf off) and dispose.

Your first photo is another beneficial pollinator and is a type of flower fly.
You can learn about them here: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/meet-pollinator-flower-fly
The second is a leaf hopper.
The third is out of focus and unidentifiable.

If you can, it would be helpful to us as we keep statistics on our questions, if you would start a new question for any further inquiries.


Christine