Friday, August 8, 2008

My #1 Enemy

I've got the heebie jeebies in a major way. I'm not even sure I can tell you about what's creeping me out so much. Whenever I think of it, I get a shiver that travels over my whole body and I can't stop myself from squealing a little bit. Most of you have probably already guessed what it is that's terrifying me. Only one thing could be so gruesome that I hesitate to say it's name. Yep, I'm talking about the tomato hornworm.

I came upon the beast yesterday when watering my tomato plants. I've noticed some problems with my plants lately and haven't been able to find the culprit. But, ooooohhh, the way I found it was grotesque. I pulled a plant over a little bit to inspect a tomato and immediately felt some squishiness under my finger. I thought I must've put my finger into a bad tomato or something, but when I pulled my finger back, I looked and saw.....this vile monster (link).

I did what any normal person would do at that point. Squealed, jumped up and down a little bit, then ran inside and scrubbed my finger for a long time in soapy water, not trying to wash anything off my finger except the memory it carried of the squishy feeling of the brute.

I had no idea what the thing was so I went back outside, took a picture of it, squealed some more, then, later, showed the picture to some people. Most people told me it was just a caterpillar. But I knew it couldn't be. I mean, it was huge. What was it going to morph into - a bird!?

So this morning on my break, I went to the garden center that I always go to when I need advice. I had some other questions I needed to ask so I got to those first. Then one of the men I was talking to said, "there's this awful thing called the tomato hornworm. It's huge (he indicated with his fingers how big it was while at the same time cringing). You should be glad you don't have those!" I replied, "Actually, that's the other thing I was going to ask you about, I found this thing in my garden yesterday and took a picture of it. I'm not sure what it is." I took out the picture and showed it to him. He smiled and said, "Yep! That's what you have! The hornworm!"

That's what I was afraid of. So I asked what I need to do. His answer was something right out of a horror movie. "You have to pick them off the plants yourself."

What!? I groaned just a little as a shiver ran through me. I asked if there were any other options, but he said no. So I argued, "But they're just so gross! I touched one on accident yesterday and I'm still not over it!" He laughed and said, "Well, you should get someone else to do it. You shouldn't have to do it." I'm not really sure what he meant by that last part, but I must say that I agree with him.

The only problem is, who am I going to get to touch those repulsive things? I'm not married so I can't beg, coerce, or bargain with a spouse to do it for me. I think it's up to me. Which means I'll be buying my tomatoes at the farmers market for the rest of the season. No actually, I've been thinking that if I'm heavily armed enough, I might be able to do it. I figure if I wear the suit below and use tongs to remove the little monsters, that might be enough.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with them once I get them off the plants, but I'm not planning that far in advance yet. To be honest, I'm not sure I'll ever get to that point. But if I do, you'll be the first to hear about it! Wish me luck!


alecia said...

And you have such nice, lovely tomatoes this year! Justin and I were laughing so much at this post- especially the bird and the tongs comments. We saw your parents tonight, but we missed seeing you... Oh, and I'm moving to your sister's ward and I'm going to force her to be my friend...

Katherine said...

EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! I can't believe you put that picture up. Are you TRYING to torture me? Yeesh. I think that you should have a bonfire and toss the suckers in. Or let them loose in your WORST enemy's garden. Or put them in a slave labor camp.

Christi said...

This is where the fake boyfriend comes in. You need to find one of those quick so he can come get rid of those disgusting monsters!

Elizabeth Downie said...

I'd prefer a real one, but you're right. The "fake" one will at least do my dirty work. :)

Lime Ink said...

you should get James to pick them off for you--I bet you could get him for $0.50 a bug. Child labor is a beautiful thing.