This is a re-do or second attempt of a previous post and video. Last year we used an incandescent black light bulb to find tomato worms and it worked okay. Someone told me that using a florescent bulb would work a lot better. They were right!
Start checking your tomato plants around mid-summer for tomato worms. The earlier you get them, the less damage they do. Tell-tale signs of tomato worm presence are missing leaves, bare branches, and tomatoes with chunks missing. I’m tellin’ ya, those nasty buggers have enormous appetites!! When searching for tomato worms, be sure to look on the undersides of leaves and branches. That’s most often where I find them. They are the same color as the plant, so they are hard to spot in daylight. The black light, however, made quick work of it at night. You may also want to bring a flashlight with you so you can see where you’re stepping if someone else is holding the black light — when they shine it away from you, it may be too dark to see in front of you!
If you have chickens or other animals that eat worms, feed the tomato worms to them. The worms grip TIGHTLY to the plant, so if you need to just break off the little branch or leaf they’re on, go ahead. I’ve never been poked by the horn on the worm, but I’ve heard it hurts, so be careful if you remove them by hand. The sight of them almost makes me gag, so I wouldn’t touch them even if they didn’t have a horn. I do, however, pay my kids 25 cents for each worm they pull off the plants. It’s a win-win.