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Tomato pests

 
gardener
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The weather so far this year has made gardening difficult. We've had over 30" of rain so far this year in our area (which is usually about our yearly total).
One thing I've noticed is an increase in the number of pests on my tomato plants. We've had tomato hornworms, tomato fruit worms, corn worms (eating the tomatoes) and aphids.
The fruit worms are a fairly new species for me to have to combat. They have eaten holes in sooooo many of my tomatoes while still green. You can only throw them in the compost once the worms are in the tomatoes. There they are protected from anything you spray too.
The fruit worms, as i just found out today, are the little ¥π@#!* that have eaten every one of my tiny sea buckthorn sprouts. I was so mad! Seeds, sent to me by a good friend, that I have tried my best to germinate and grow well....all defoliated. I found the culprit and could only identify the little shit with a magnifying glass. F***'ing fruit worm! Only a quarter inch long.
I have sprayed all my gardens with neem and recently with neem and baby shampoo combined. I didn't think they would get my tiny sea buckthorn plants. But they are all gone.
Times like this make me want to spray to kill but I know who suffers in the long run.
Does anyone have a good idea of what I can do to combat this pest?
 
steward
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I wonder if fuzzy tomatoes, or peach tomatoes, would be resistant to the fruit-worms?  Does the hairy skin do a better job of repelling the parents from laying eggs?
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Hello Joseph,
Thanks for your reply. I'm not familiar with fuzzy tomatoes or peach tomatoes. I'm not sure if a fuzzy texture would keep them from laying their eggs. I think they lay them on the leaves of the tomato plants, which are sort of fuzzy.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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There are also tomato varieties with fuzzier leaves... I don't prefer to grow tomatoes that feel like stinging-nettles, but if I had a choice between growing no tomatoes at all, or growing "stinging tomatoes", I'd probably choose to grow stinging tomatoes, and then cook or peel them as necessary to get rid of the fuzz. I don't like the fuzz on okra, apricots, or peaches, but I still grow and eat plenty of them.

On a more philosophical note: I am an animal. I haven't yet been harmed by eating an insect.



 
Karen Donnachaidh
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So, what you're saying is...If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em!  
I'll be looking into those fuzzy tomatoes. I like a good "meaty" tomato but may not be quite the animal to go there.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Okay, I've seen this guy before and I've searched the internet for an identification, but I can't find anything on him. Just like tomato fruit worms, he seems to prefer green (under ripe) tomatoes and, because of him, I've had to throw lots of our late season tomatoes in the "chuck-it bucket". He is only a half inch long and all of the ones I have seen before are no bigger. He looks like a piece of black velvet with a brown head and, in all of the pictures I took of him, he apparently has 6 legs. Name that worm.
IMG_20170927_144134.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20170927_144134.jpg]
Mystery worm
 
garden master
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I've seen those guys in my garden too and I'm curious as well so I did a little searching on the interwebs and from what I found it appears to be a beetle larvae, possibly the Calosoma genus, based solely on the picture and the six legs. Interestingly, the larvae are informally known as caterpillar hunters, which if it is indeed a Calosoma larvae, I'm not sure why it's noshing on your green tomatoes, which kinda leads me to think it could be something else.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Thank you James. I looked at the Calosoma genus, but they all seemed too hard, shiny bodied. But, I used your information as a jumping off point and came up with Tomato pinworm larva. The pictures I see aren't as dark black as the one I found and I read that they start off really light colored and darken to chestnut brown, but they could be him. I've never seen anything but the jet black ones. I don't know, still not convinced. What do you think?
 
James Freyr
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I don't think it's tomato pinworm larvae based on the number of legs. The photos of pinworm larvae I found appear to have many legs going down the entirety of their body.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Good observation. The search continues....
 
pollinator
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http://www4.ncsu.edu/~dorr/Insects/Predators/Soldier_Beetles/chauliognathus_marginatus.html

I think it's one of those, it says they can be found in tomatos and have a velvety texture
 
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forest garden bee
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Aside from predators, I read about pesticidal plants. Rape seed or mustard might help.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Skandi, I think you got it. Thank you!
David, thanks for those tips too.
 
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