Left unchecked, tomato pests can inflict lots of damage to your tomato plants and even destroy them.
But there’s good news. If you keep a close watch, you can identify pests as soon as they begin their dirty work and treat them before things get out of hand.
Monitor tomato plants daily. Check leaves, stems and fruit for these symptoms that come from nasty critters on the prowl. Find out more about each pest and how to control it when you click on its link.
(Scroll down to the bottom of the page to ask a specific question about pests on your tomato plants.)
|chewed stem||tomato cutworm (early in the season)|
|defoliation||tomato hornworm, tobacco hornworm|
|holes in leaves||flea beetles|
|yellowing, curled leaves||aphids|
|purpling veins in leaves||psyllids|
|tunnels or zigzag patterns in leaves||leaf miners|
|hole in stem||stalk borer|
|honeydew (white, sticky residue)||aphids, whiteflies|
|webbing on leaf undersides||spider mites|
|dark pinpricks, holes in fruit||tomato fruit worm, stink bugs|
|light or discolored patches on fruit||stink bugs|
|holes in fruit||slugs|
Here’s an overview of the most common treatment methods for tomato pests. Choose the best treatment prescribed for each one. Get more information when you click on links above for specific pests.
. Potassium salts in insecticidal soap’s fatty acids remove an insect’s protective waxes and cause disruption of insect cell membranes. They are effective when applied directly to the insect on the plant. Mix with water to produce a 2-3% dilution. One advantage of using insecticidal soap
is less residual effects on other organisms. Moreover, insecticidal soaps are organic. One disadvantage is that certain plants may be sensitive to soaps, causing leaf burn. Insecticidal soaps
are particularly effective on smaller pests such as aphids, pysillids, and spider mites.
, for instance, is derived from seed extracts of the neem plant. Oil-based sprays block an insect’s air holes, interfere with an insect’s metabolism, disrupt feeding, or inhibit insect growth. Like insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils can cause plant injury if not properly diluted.
(available in granules , concentrate , or ready to use ) or Eight
(Permethrin) - available in dust , concentrate , and ready to spray . But keep in mind that by doing so, you may kill helpful insects. Follow product instructions. Treat for 2-4 weeks with a garden sprayer.
Do you have a problem with your tomatoes from a tomato pest? Describe your plant (if possible the variety, the soil, the weather) and the its symptoms. If you've seen the pest, describe it as best you can.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Tiny 1/4 inch red worms are eating my ripe tomatoes
Q. I have found tiny red worms by my tomato plants and have found small holes in ripe tomatoes. What might they be? Tomato Dirt responds ... A. …
What pests are eating my cherry tomatoes?
Q. I have some pests eating my cherry tomatoes. They completely consume orange and red cherries, and chew a little out of green ones. I think it might …
Tomato stems are torn or shredded
Q. Tomato plants in my raised bed are ruined by something that tears the stems. Tomatoes never get to mature and usually the plant dies from the damage. …
Small white worms inside tomatoes
Q. Last year we had small white fattish worms inside our tomatoes. The year before, it happened to the eggplants. The fruit looks perfect, except for one …
Huge holes in my tomatoes
Q. I found such huge holes in my tomatoes. I thought birds were eating them, but the next day I found many small, red beetles eating the tomatoes, not …
I need a good vole deterrent!
Q. Have you got any suggestions for managing voles? I've lost two old heirloom tomatoes to voles. I've never had any problems with them eating my tomatoes …
Q. Year after year I struggle with with these pests. Would it help to pre-treat tomato plants with a fish oil, sesame oil, and castor oil mix work? …
Tomatoes damaged by whitefly
Q. Can you help me identify and know how to treat whitefly pests on tomatoes? A. Whiteflies suck juices from leaves, causing wilting, leaf damage, …
Mocking birds are eating my tomatoes!
Q. Mocking birds are beating me to my ripe tomatoes. They have eaten several whole tomatoes already. They laugh at shiny objects I hang out to scare …
Birds (sparrows) are eating both ripe and green tomatoes
Q. Birds are eating my tomatoes. They start with the ripe ones and then go to the green ones. The plant in one area was completely eaten of all fruit in …
How do I keep stink bugs or (or leaf-footed bugs) off my tomatoes?
Dear Tomato Dirt, Stink bugs evidently stick their little snout in the tomato. If the tomato is not used soon it gets a translucent place that gets …
Tomato Pests: Not from a deer - but what is this thing?
Hi Tomato Dirt , When i first saw the damage on my tomato plant I thought a deer had done some nibbling. But pretty soon I found a really BIG worm …
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