How to Get Rid of Hornworms Organically. Hornworms can cause a great deal of damage to your beloved plants and can ruin an entire tomato patch quickly. If you are an organic gardener, you need to rid your garden of these pests without using a pesticide. Follow these steps to get rid of hornworms organically.
Things You'll Need
- Soapy water
- Bacillus thuringiensis
Pick the hornworms off your plants and kill them. You can squash them with your foot or dump them in a bucket of soapy water. Alternatively, get a pair of scissors and cut each worm you find in half while it's still on the leaf, and you'll never have to touch them.
Know when you shouldn't kill a hornworm. If you see small white oval things stuck to a hornworm, leave it alone. These are eggs of a parasitic wasp that kills hornworms after hatching. You want these eggs to hatch so more wasps will help protect your garden. Select one of your plants to sacrifice, and move any hornworms with wasp eggs to the sacrificial plant. The worms will eat that plant, but you will breed a new generation of parasitic wasps to protect your garden.
Purchase bacillus thuringiensis, also called BT, to kill the hornworms. This organic product is nontoxic to pets, humans and the environment. Many people report finding dead hornworms the day after the first application. You can apply this product to plants up until harvest time.
Till the ground well in the fall after you pull up the old plants. The hornworm pupae live in the soil, and tilling well destroys many of them. This reduces your hornworm population in the following season.