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Hornworms causing headaches for Mallorca tomato growers

A plague of green-eyed monsters are wreaking havoc across Mallorca’s countryside.

Farmers are at a loss when it comes to stemming the damage caused by hornworms on their agricultural crops.

Capable of doing serious damage to tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and potatoes, hornworms are large caterpillars, adept in defoliating a plant in just a few days.

Despite their imposing size, which can reach up to 10cm long, hornworms are often difficult to spot because of their protective green colouring. 

In recent years, the presence of hornworms in Mallorca has grown considerably.

This is mainly due to their resistance to insecticides and climate change where a lack of rain and an increase in temperatures on the island provide the perfect conditions for their growth.

Farmers now warn that many of their greenhouse tomato plantations are completely lost and that the situation may get worse as summer approaches – a time when hornworms cause the greatest damage. 

“The situation is really worrying in greenhouses where the life cycle of hornworms does not end and the fact that the insect has great reproductive potential,” explained Jaume Pocovi from Unio de Pagesos, a union that protects the interests of farmers. 

Read more at The Olive Press (Isha Sesay)

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