If you find big and green caterpillars on your tomato plants, there is a chance your entire garden is hosting one of the most common tomato pests in America. This is the hornworm caterpillar. Thus, if you grow tomatoes, you are almost certainly familiar with this little and annoying pests. Keep reading to get some information and advice on how to get rid of tomato caterpillars efficiently!
I know that there are only two methods that actually work. These are by hand and with organic solutions. Check them out down below to learn everything you need to know.
First off, let’s see how can we identify those tomato-eaters.
Well, these pests are usually pale leaf green in color, but sometimes black, they have seven white stripes along the side in a V-shape, around eight black and yellow spiracles on each side of the body, a dark blue or black horn on its tail and they grow as large as 4 inches long. You’ll probably also find them near pepper or eggplants, not only around tomatoes.
How to identify the signs of these tomato caterpillars?
– examine the missing leaves, these pests can eat a leaf right down to the stem
– check for young tomatoes and leaves that have been partly eaten
– where there is one, there are probably even more
– check the undersides of the lowest branches, near the main stalk.
– look around the ground under your plants for poop.
Now, let’s see the 2-method approach you should consider when you need to get rid of tomato caterpillars:
1. By Hand
Hence, the first method to eliminate them is to physically pick them off the plant. It is quite an intensive work you need to do but it is quite effective. You could also involve your children, it is safe and it will be fun for them to look for tomato caterpillars. In my opinion, this is even better than applying chemicals that might ruin your plants.
However, there is also a drawback to this method. It’s really impossible to kill every and each one of these pests so unless you also destroy their habitat, I don’t think you will get rid of them soon. So yes, some caterpillars will survive and keep munching on your plants. This is where we should move into the second method.
2. Organic Solutions
Furthermore, use organic solutions. It is always better to get a more natural approach since you want to save your plants. Thus, in this instance, one ingredient you can use is the diatomaceous earth, it will do the trick. Again, this method will not kill all of the caterpillars. However, it will knock out enough to leave you with a healthy tomato harvest at the end of the summer.
Another product you can use with success is pure cedar oil. It’s safe, effective, and it smells good too! Thus, you can use it safely as an insect repellant.
Another option would be to use cedar oil. Mix it up with water in a spray bottle and apply it until you get rid of the pests completely.
Also, if you want to turn to natural predators, you can also take advantage of ladybugs, green lacewings, and common wasps.
The last option could be planting marigold close by. It is a great repellant for tomato caterpillars.
There you have them, the best methods to get rid of these little pests and keep safe your tomato plants for a great harvest.