If you've got good eyes, you'll start seeing a single tiny, perfectly round, light colored egg on some of your tomato leaves. That's a hornworm egg. Take it off now and destroy it. You'll be glad later.
There are a few different kinds of hornworms that attack tomatoes in Indiana. I get the tobacco hornworms. That is a medium sized one in the pic above. They get bigger.
A lot bigger.
And they don't like being removed from the plant. They twist and squirt green goo at you. They act really scary.
I have to remind myself that it doesn't want to eat me, it wants to eat my tomatoes, so I should just suck it up and get the blasted thing off. They don't bite.
It's not always easy to spot these things. They are perfectly camouflaged in a tomato plant.
This is the poop from that guy in the photo above. It's medium sized hornworm poop. The greener it is, the fresher it is. The bigger it is, the bigger the hornworm that dropped it is. [Warning: there will be another poop quiz later. You're excited, I know! It's been ages since the last one.]
The law of gravity being what it is, once you find the poop, you can generally look straight up to find the source. As the hornworms get bigger, they eat and move faster so sometimes you still have to search a bit. A little patience is all it takes to find your culprit.
Not everyone finds these as unwelcome as gardeners do. My lovely friend Heidi loves them and collects them so they can become adults.
And I would. Gladly.
Then she could raise adult tobacco hornworm moths like this one.
Since Heidi is not here to rescue and revere these beauties, I'll just keep picking them off and feeding them to the chickens. The chickens love them.