We weren’t sure if the little white things all over it were eggs or what, so we looked it up online. Turns out, this Hornworm is covered in the cocoons of a predatory Braconid Wasp.
The female wasps lay eggs directly underneath the host hornworm’s skin. As the eggs hatch, the larvae literally eat the worm alive as they chew their way out. Once on the surface of the weakened hornworm, the mature larvae pupate, spinning a tiny oval cocoon on the back and sides of the host. In a few days, the mature wasps will hatch out and begin their search for more hornworms to destroy.
Isn’t that the most awesome thing ever? Nature’s own biological pest control.
Another thing to appreciate is that these tiny wasps don’t sting humans. So no worries there.
If you find a hornworm with what look like little white eggs all over it, leave it where it is and thank the wasps for doing their part to keep your garden strong and healthy.
It never ceases to amaze me how the Creator designed everything to work in harmony, if we’d just step back and let it be.
For more interesting information on Hornworms and Braconid Wasps, click here.