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« Mrs. Clinton regrets | Main | The mother of all hornworms »

January 07, 2004

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Hey, is there any real room for the positive aspects of Manduca species here? I think this whole organic gardening thing is getting out of hand if it means dumping untold millions of Braconid and Trichogramma wasps out there just to control the nightshade hornworms. These wasps don't stop with them and infest most other sphingids. Most sphingids and the majority of Manducas are by far, not only benign, but as adults, beneficial. The parasitic wasps destroy ALL caterpillars, including many butterflies and our most beautiful of moths....the saturniids!
All sphingid moths are beneficial as pollinators! In fact, I am currently researching the use of the nightshade Manducas for biological control of a serious noxious weed not even native to this continent. The picture you have of the adult hawkmoth, is Hyles lineata. It is a non-pest and quite attractive species. If Manducas don't have any cultivated nightshades around, their natural food plants are weeds, including the toxic jimsonweed, horsenettle, deadly and black nightshades.

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