This is Lexy from Build It Up East TN. It can be pretty distressing noticing insect damage to your precious plants. Before you reach for your (organic) sprays, you should consider giving nature a few days to catch up. For every pest eating your plants, there are other insects that want to make the bad critters lunch. We noticed Tomato Hornworms on our plants, but a couple of days later, saw several of the worms sprouting white pods:
Each of those pods is an egg containing a braconid wasp! The wasp larvae will hatch and eat the caterpillar from the inside out. When they grow up, they’ll be more wasps to hunt down the remaining Tomato Hornworms. It’s a little gruesome, but totally free and hands off pest control! Conventional farming sprays chemicals that would kill off the good guys, leaving your plants dependent on more spraying. By creating an environment that is organic and healthy, we can let nature do the work for us!
While the larvae like to eat caterpillars, the adult wasps enjoy the nectar from small flowers. Mother Earth News suggests the following:
“Grow an abundance of flowers and herbs that produce nectar from numerous small florets, such as sweet alyssum, chamomile, feverfew, catnip and buckwheat. When allowed to produce flowers, dill, fennel and other members of the carrot family also attract braconid wasps.”