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Q. The first tomato in my crop to ripen was rotted. When I picked it, half was gooey and brown. There were two or three tiny white larvae-looking creatures inside it. There were also a couple tiny black bugs. I've got an organic garden. What happened to my tomato? What do I do to prevent this?
A. Tomato fruitworms attack a tomato by tunneling. The pest consumes the tomato’s interior and leaves a cavity filled with fluid, frass, and droppings. The tomato quickly decays and rots. In a word, they are N-A-S-T-Y. Fruit is inedible after a fruitworm infestation.
It's not uncommon to have your plant's first ripened tomato reveal fruitworms. Larvae (worms) attack tomatoes just after fruit begins to set and grow, but before they ripen. They like green tomatoes!
In fact, one way gardeners find fruitworms is to watch ripening. When one tomato ripens considerably earlier than the others on a plant, or even just first on a plant, check it for a fruitworm hole. If you catch it soon (as you probably did), there may be more than one worm per fruit. But soon, they chase each other out of fruit. Worms are cannibalistic and territorial.
Once pests enter fruit, they are protected and cannot be treated. But you can take these organic precautions on the rest of the plant and nearby tomato plants, too:
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