I have been "lucky" enough to spot some pests in my garden during the last few weeks while I've been making my weekly rounds with my camera.
Check out this puppy - I mean, hornworm. I've seen many pictures of them on the internet, but that still didn't prepare me for a up close and personal encounter. I initially thought that this was a tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) but I learned from my pest research that this was actually a closely related tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta). Tobacco hornworms have seven diagonal white lines on each side with a slightly curved red horn on their rear ends (exactly like in my picture above!). Tomato hornworms have eight V-shaped marks on each side with a straighter black horn. Both tomato and tobacco hornworms feed on various Solanum species, which was good to know, since I'm definitely not growing any tobacco in my garden.
This must have been my lucky day, because I also saw another less fortunate tobacco hornworm infested with parasitic wasp eggs on its back. I know this is supposedly to be natural and all, but ugh, I have to admit, I was thoroughly, completely grossed out while taking these pictures.
On to slightly less disgusting, but nonetheless evil pests in my garden. Here we have two cabbage worms feasting on my radish leaves. A few weeks ago, I posted some pictures of damaged seedlings in my fall garden. Many of my regular readers suggested slug damage. That may still be true, but I have yet to see any slugs in my garden. What I have seen lots of are these cabbage worms. They are everywhere, and they eat the leaves of radishes, kale, all kinds of asian greens and even chards. I could (maybe) deal with them nibbling a bit here and there. But left unchecked, many of my seedlings get stripped bare of their foliage and just die.
Here's a picture of another cabbage worm. They blend in really well with the leaves, don't they? I must have squished dozens of them in my garden just last weekend. But they keep popping up everywhere and I just can't keep up.
Here we have an aphid infestation on the underside of a radish leaf. The aphids are out in full force all over the same crops that the cabbage worms seem to love. I tried to spray them with soapy water and squish what I could, but as you can see, they way outnumber me.