• Home Home

Gardener shares cheap and ingenious hack for spotting 'invisible' backyard pests: 'You can see them really easily'

"They're actually fluorescent…"

Tomato hornworms

Photo Credit: @mygardenburner / Instagram

Here's a scenario: Your backyard garden is doing well and you're looking forward to harvesting your tomatoes — a summertime favorite. But one morning, you notice the tomato plants have suddenly lost their foliage, and you don't know why. 

The culprit? Most likely, it's that green monster known as the tomato hornworm.

Unless you're used to spotting these voracious creatures, you probably will never even know they are there — until it's too late. Thankfully, Instagrammer Matt Cooper (@mygardenburner) shared his secret on how to easily find these camouflaged pests.

The scoop

Cooper's video starts off showing a few clips of tomato hornworms and their destructive work on some tomato plants. The Instagram gardening expert then shows how the worms can be easily spotted at night under an ultraviolet light.

"With the ultraviolet light, you can see them really easily," Cooper explains. "Pluck them off and your tomato plants will thank you."

How it's helping

The tomato hornworm is known to backyard gardeners as one of the most destructive pests. Not only will it attack your tomato plants, but it also likes to feed on the leaves and stems of eggplant, peppers, and potatoes. 

It can grow up to 5 inches long and has a huge appetite, enabling it to devour the entire foliage off a tomato plant in one night. To make matters worse, the hornworm's amazing camouflage makes it extremely difficult to spot — and it can lay up to 2,000 eggs a month.

The inexpensive hack is a safe way to rid your garden of tomato hornworms without the use of toxic chemical pesticides. 

Dealing with pests is one of the most common problems gardeners must deal with, so detecting and getting rid of tomato hornworms early will save you a lot of time, resources, and heartache. In the end, you will have a more robust harvest of food that is healthy and produced with minimal negative impact on the environment.

What everyone's saying

One Instagrammer was ready to go out and try the hack right away, saying, "Great tip! Just purchased a couple UV black light flashlights from eBay."

Another added, "They make a wonderful snack for chickens!" 

And there was one user who even offered a biological explanation for the tomato hornworm's ability to produce light. 

"They're actually fluorescent … they emit light they absorb," explained the user. "Just a fun fact."

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider