What is happening? The pests that could be eating your tomato plants at night include snails and slugs, hornworms, leaf-cutting bees, cutworms, Colorado Potato Beetle, rabbits, and deer. To identify what’s eating your tomato plants at night, check the marks left on them.
- Poke tomato cages, or cones, into the soil around your plants. …
- Plant herbs and flowers around your tomato and cucumber plants. …
- Set out pest traps. …
- Fertilize and water your tomato and cucumber plants regularly.
Your plant is probably being attacked by hornworms. Despite their large size, these bright green caterpillars can easily hide among tomato leaves, staying out of sight until they have eaten most of the plant’s foliage. Inspect your plants for hornworms now before they strip it down to bare stems.
Mix 1 cup of cornmeal with 5 gallons of water, strain, and then spray on tomato plants. For warding off early blight, mix 2 tablespoons each of cooking oil, organic baby shampoo and baking soda with 1 gallon of water, and then spray both sides of the leaves for best prevention.
Deer, birds, squirrels and raccoons all eat tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum), but they rarely eat an entire fruit. Instead, they take a bite or two out of each one, ruining the entire crop for you.
Nocturnal feeders with a fondness for tomato plants include skunks, rats, raccoons, and deer. Skunks do the least damage, taking a bite from a single low-hanging fruit. Deer will cause extensive damage by grazing from the top down. Raccoons and rats will feed more on the lower fruits.
Stake or cage your tomatoes to prevent fruit from lying on the ground. Remove any low limbs that might provide rodents access to an easy meal. Clean up any debris around the garden, such as high weeds, extra thick layers of mulch or anything else that could be used by rodents as a hiding spot from predators.
ANSWER: The critter eating the holes in the tomatoes is the tomato fruitworm. This common caterpillar eats holes in the fruit about the diameter of a cigarette. The holes can be shallow or deep. The wounds often enlarge when they become infected with secondary fungi and begin to rot.
They do the most damage in the caterpillar—or larval—stage. They are pale green with white and black markings, plus a horn-like protrusion stemming from their rear. … The caterpillar also has eight V-shaped stripes on its green body. Tomato hornworms come from a mottled brown-gray moth (see picture, above).
- Inspect Your Plants Thoroughly. You can prevent a tomato hornworm infestation if you stay one step ahead at all times. …
- Water Spray. …
- Till the Soil. …
- Crop Rotation. …
- Cover the Ground. …
- Spray Natural Insecticides. …
- Plant a Trap Crop. …
- Use Pop-Up Bird Netting.
The most effective organic control for these green caterpillars on tomatoes is to simply hand pick them. They are a larger caterpillar and easy to spot on the vine. Hand picking and placing them in a bucket of water is an effective way to kill tomato hornworms.
If you don’t want to use chemicals in your garden, another way you can kill tomato hornworms in an organic way is to mix up a combination of liquid soap and water. Spray the mixture on the plant foliage before adding some cayenne pepper – this will get rid of the bugs and then repel them into her true.
Protect your harvest Wrap individual fruits on tomato, eggplant, or other vegetable plants in small pieces of bird netting. Squirrels seem to be most interested in stealing tomatoes just as they ripen, so wrap the mature fruits and ignore the green ones.
Several food sources attract these vermin, including garbage bins, compost piles and gardens. Although rats eat anything and do anything to survive, they target gardens because of their availability of fresh produce, such as tomatoes.
While squirrels love ripe tomatoes in general, they’ll attack both green and ripe ones if they are thirsty. There’s a fairly easy fix for this: just place a water source away from the garden. That way, they won’t be eating tomatoes just because they are thirsty.
groundhogs usually eat low-hanging fruit from the bottom up. You’ve got a few options. Try setting out a cage trap baited with peanut butter to see if you don’t catch a squirrel or chipmunk. Place it near the plants in the garden.
Bird netting helps protect tomato plants in the garden. Barriers, such as fencing, prevent animals from getting the goods. Chickenwire or plastic mesh fencing or lightweight bird netting (available at garden centers) can be installed around a pot or a row of plants.
- Marigolds (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- Lavender (Lavandula)
- Onions (Allium sepa)
- Grape Hyacinth (Muscari asparagaceae)
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
- Avoid planting corn near tomatoes. …
- Monitor plants for eggs and hand pick leaves where eggs are laid. …
- Prevent larvae from entering fruit by covering plants with fine netting.
- Encourage natural predators.
What Is Eating Holes in My Tomatoes? Tomatoes have three serious pests that cause the most damage – tomato fruitworms, tomato hornworms, and the squash bug. They all cause problems and might cause small holes in tomatoes, but the most likely culprit is the tomato fruitworm.
Holes chewed in tomatoes can be the work of slugs. … Small holes in fruit and tomatoes that collapse when you pick them might be the work of tomato fruitworms. These moth larvae bore into fruits and consume them from within. Once the larvae are in the fruit, the only remedy is to destroy the infected fruit.
Loathed by Gardeners, Tomato Hornworms Morph into Magnificent Sphinx Moths. … They often are mistaken for small hummingbirds when they fly during the day and hover helicopter style to nectar on flowers, which is why they are also called Hummingbird or Hawk Moths.
Dry laundry or dish detergents are too strong for plant use, and even liquid laundry soap solution may harm some tomato varieties. To ensure the safety of your tomato, water it well and test spray a few of its leaves.
It is believed that a sprinkle of bicarb soda on the soil around tomato plants will sweeten tomatoes. Bicarb soda helps lower the acid levels in soil, which makes tomatoes sweeter. Before you plant your garden, scoop some soil into a small container and wet it with some water.
Late in the season use an Epsom salt spray to increase tomato and pepper yield and keep plants green and bushy; early in the season add Epsom salt to the soil to aid germination, early root and cell development, photosynthesis, plant growth, and to prevent blossom-end rot.
You can use a Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) based organic insecticide to control young tomato hornworms, less than two inches (5cm) long, but more mature caterpillars may survive the treatment. Plus, more eggs are hatching all the time, which is why organic gardeners learn to be sharp tomato hornworm scouts.
The chemical constituents in the common garden herb basil (Ocimum basilicum) are said to repel tomato hornworms as well as improve tomato flavor when planted nearby.