Using a Blacklight to Find “Hard to Spot” Pests in the Garden

Previously in this blog, and across social media, I shared terrifying photos.

Hornworm poop

Hornworm Eggs

While their presence seems to be dwindling, I still see some signs that they are around like bare stems here and there. So after some other gardeners shared with me how much easier it is to spot hornworms at night with a black light (“they glow in the dark! I’m not kidding!” One told me.), I got on Amazon and ordered one.

Black light: shines purple on the leaves but certain substances glow bright green

The first 2 times I attempted to search for hornworms at night, I didn’t find any. I did notice lizards and frogs don’t glow in the light but mealybugs and aphids do. Finally tonight I spotted the tiniest hornworm and only its head glowed but then I saw its unmistakable trademark horn and was glad I caught it. My tomato plants are now producing and those little hornworms eat the blooms, preventing fruiting, and when they get big they can devour a whole plant before you see them. During the day they easily camouflage under leaves and against vines like this one I almost missed:

It’s dropping gave it’s location away but it was hard to spot

Notice how difficult it is to see when I back up from this spot in the picture below:

So that is how you justify using a black light at night. It is a little creepy but totally effective. I wonder how many more vegetables I would have on the vines if I had started doing this sooner. I wonder how many more vegetables will mature now that I have this tool in my belt.

If you’d like to join me over on the dark side 😂 and start hunting these little mutants at night, check out my amazon link!

I participate in the Amazon Affiliate program and may earn a commission at no extra cost to my readers. I only recommend items I shop myself.

Black Light – this is the light I’m using in my garden. Just needs batteries.

Amazon Prime – I use Amazon Prime because we shop enough to justify one small flat rate per month to get free 2 day shipping on most products. I love getting my stuff fast!

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