How to Combat Tomato Hornworms
July 29, 2015

How to Combat Tomato Hornworms

I was recently on a gardening radio show where a listener called in to ask about controlling tomato hornworms. The hosts of the show were slightly incredulous when I mentioned that controlling tomato hornworms and all other pests and diseases is directly related to the quality of soil and a rich biodiversity of microbial life in the soil. The hosts asked, “How could applying John & Bob’s products impact the presence or absence of tomato hornworms?”

An important factor is that 75% of all insect pests spend part of their life cycle in the soil. The best way to combat them at the source is a soil rich with complex soil life, which contains natural enemies of insect pests. Many potential pests will get eaten while still in the soil, prior to maturing into plant pests.

Another plant/soil mechanism representative of a whole range of mysterious interactions involves Chitin. Chitin is a main component of the exoskeleton of destructive insects and worms. Chitonase is the naturally occurring enzyme which breaks down Chitin to create Chitosan, a natural pesticide and fungicide. When a plant detects Chitin from insects, the plant knows it is being attacked and will start making Chitinase to break down the Chitin, creating Chitosan to combat the pests. This only occurs given the proper soil properties and plant health. In this way, plants produce their own natural insecticide and fungicide, relying on soil life as a source to access the necessary enzymes. John & Bob’s introduces life to the soil with our Blend, a pre-mix of Optimize, Maximize, and Nourish-Biosol. Blend contains everything needed to jump start your soil with life, using simple topical applications.

The world of soil offers tremendous complexity and natural sophistication. Soil health and life is really the foundation of all natural mechanisms, many of which we understand only partially or not at all. Tomato hornworms and all other pests and diseases beware; we understand that rich soil full of complex life is the most effective way to prevent and defeat pests and diseases.