The list of garden troublemakers isn’t too long where we live, but it is worth noting via photographs. Above is a tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) attacking our tomato plant earlier in the summer. They grow to be pretty large as far as caterpillars go. This one must have been 4 inches long and was pretty fat. There is also the tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata), but it has a black horn (versus the red horn that you see in the photo). Our handsome green bandit ate up nearly all the leaves on a young tomato plant. It’s now late summer and the formerly injured tomato plant eventually recovered, but not in time to produce any tomatoes.
No doubt the hornworm is an interesting looking creature, but it is incredibly hungry. It seems to be able to eat up an entire tomato plant (leaves only) in a couple of days or less. They apparently also attack pepper, eggplant, and potato plants. Check out the Farmer’s Almanac for more information on these critters.
In case you are wondering, hornworms turn into moths. Luckily, this hornworm isn’t interested in bean plants. We had a nice crop this year.
Butterflies have been spotted in the garden, but I wouldn’t say they are troublemakers–at least once they are butterflies.
Here is another pollinator hard at work pollinating the flower from a loofah vine. It was a futile effort. Not one loofah sponge developed.
Now this cross-eyed gray cat is listed among our backyard troublemakers because he is the brut who would get into fights with our cat. Our cat ended up at the vet’s a couple of times due to deep scratches and bites that got infected. Now that our cat has passed away, this gray cat still visits our yard but doesn’t cause us problems. Even still, I don’t think it would be wise for me to cross his path.
Of course we need to list deer.
Yeah, yeah, they are cute. And these two in the photo below with young antlers look like darlings, but boy do they cause troubles in our vegetable garden, not to mention carrying ticks with Lyme disease. We have a fence around our property, but it’s not enough of a challenge against their elite jumping skills.
How about mommy deer with a couple of fawns. The fawns appear to be oblivious to the danger near them, the photographer.
This turtle isn’t a troublemaker, but its presence in the herb garden made the garden off limits for a week so the turtle could do its business undisturbed.
Another critter that isn’t really a troublemaker (but gives me a scare sometimes) was spotted running up a wall. I believe it’s called a broad-headed skink. One troublemaker that my husband found the other day near our shed was a copperhead snake. Yikes! Too bad he didn’t catch a photo of it.
I’ll leave you with another photo of that lovely butterfly.
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!