If you have tomatoes, the emergence of pests and diseases is expected, so you should know how to get rid of bugs in tomato plants.
Tomato plants are not left out of vulnerable to bug infestations.
Within days, you can have your tomato leaves reduced to almost nothing.
These voracious insects and worms can take away the joy of planting tomatoes.
Before this happens, you must learn about ways to deal with them.
Various Methods of Tomato Bug ControlHere is a guide to ease that journey.
Various Methods of Tomato Bug Control
Several insects, at their various stages of growth, feed on the leaves, stems, and fruits of plants.
This causes a substantial economic loss to the agricultural sector yearly.
To curb these bugs, there are three basic methods.
Here are the four ways of pest control.
This is a traditional means of tomato bug control that involves the physical removal of insects and pests.
It is usually appropriate for bugs with considerable sizes and not many.
This is a method that is effective against macro pests like rodents.
Insect pests like aphids, budworms, and thrips can easily evade physical methods.
Due to the large numbers of these insects, physical killing becomes ineffective.
Tomatoes pest control through chemical methods uses pesticides and insecticides.
The chemicals used are toxic to these insects.
They usually cause death or disruption in the growth of the bugs.
This method is more efficient and commonly used for insect pests.
Due to their toxicity, chemical agents have disadvantages.
There is a likelihood of these chemicals being retained in the crops.
They are also sometimes washed into water bodies where they negatively affect other organisms.
Another disadvantage is their potential to harm beneficial insects while dealing with harmful ones.
This is why there have been more organic chemicals for pest control.
These less inorganic compounds are more environmentally friendly.
The use of natural biological relationships for pest control is the biological method.
Natural enemies of the pests are used to control the pest.
A good example is when people use dogs to kill rats or fowl to eat grasshoppers and other insects.
You can even use parasitic wasps to control aphids.
These methods are the main general ways of dealing with pests in the garden or farm.
When it has to do with tomatoes, there are majorly insects and worms.
So below is a list of bugs that affect tomato plants.
The corresponding means of getting rid of them are also mentioned.
Tomato Plant Bugs and How To Get Rid of Them
The tomato plant is affected by several insects and nematodes.
Different bugs can affect one or more parts of the plant at every growth stage.
These bugs majorly eat the leaves of the tomato plant.
These are caterpillars with tough skin. They usually have irregular stripes on the back and side of their body.
They can be green, brown, or reddish.
Budworms destroy foliage by eating them.
They are hatched from the eggs of a moth with brown forewings, and these moths lay white eggs on the plants.
They hatch into the budworms that feed on the leaves.
Spraying the plant with an organic pesticide containing Bacillus Thuringiensis or neem oil is effective.
Inorganic pesticides containing pyrethrin, spinosad, fluvalinate, and cyfluthrin can also be used.
This is a species of caterpillar that attacks the tomato plant at night.
During the day, the cutworm resides in the soil.
The worm damages or cuts the plant stem, leading to a collapse of the plant.
Young plants and seedlings are most vulnerable to this attack.
The cutworm, larvae of a moth, appears brown to black, soft-bodied, and hairless in the soil.
They are only active at night.
You can control cutworms by spraying the tomato with pesticides.
These sprays should contain spinosad, diazinon, and cyfluthrin.
Sprays of Bacillus Thuringiensis are a more organic means of removing whiteflies.
The hornworms are green worms about 2-3 inches with tiny horns on their heads.
They have a rigged body that they can use to camouflage and resemble tomato stems.
These bugs eat the leaves of the tomato plant at night.
You can use organic insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis.
Handpicking the worms can also be a reasonable means of eliminating them.
These small and soft-bodied insects can be green, grey, or black.
Aphids feed off the sap of the tomato plant.
They can have wings or be wingless.
They can be carriers of disease-causing viruses.
Biological means can be used as other beneficial insects can eat them.
Aphids can also be controlled using neem oil sprays and horticultural soap.
Pesticides containing pyrethrum, fluvalinate, and dimethoate can also eliminate aphids.
Russet Mite And Spider Mite
Russet mites are so small that you must use a hand lens to see them.
They cause damage to the stems, lower leaves, and fruits.
Bronzing of the stems and hardening of the fruits to have leathery skin are caused by these bugs.
Russet mites also cause the lower leaves to wither.
Spider mites, on the other hand, are bigger than russet mites.
They also damage the stems and roots of the tomato, making the stems bronzed and the leaves deformed.
Neem oil spray is a good remedy against both mites.
Insecticidal and horticultural soap are good ways of ridding your garden of these bugs.
These are larvae of moths that eat leaves.
You can find them on tomatoes, potatoes, and other vegetable leaves.
Looper caterpillars are soft-bodied, with bands on their body.
Their name “looper” came from their looping movement.
Sprays of pesticides containing spinosad, diazinon, and Bacillus Thuringiensis are ways to eliminate them.
These small torpedo-shaped insects may be green, yellow, black, or grey.
They consume the sap from tomatoes’ leaves, fruits, and flowers.
Thrips harm your tomato plant by causing spotted wilt disease.
Thrips are carriers of the virus that cause this disease, which leads to severe damage.
In a severe case, the thrips can be large, making control difficult.
You can use ways to eliminate thrips, such as using sulfur dustings or sprays of imidacloprid, diazinon, or dimethoate.
Horticultural soap can also be used to get rid of them.
You can find them mainly on the underside of leaves, sucking sap off them.
Adult whiteflies have wings, but it is absent in their young forms.
The adult looks like tiny moths.
They can infest the tomato plants in large numbers.
Other insects like ladybirds, lace-wings, and hoverflies feed on the whiteflies.
You can even utilize other insects as a biological means of controlling whiteflies.
The use of neem oil and horticultural soap are suitable methods.
You can also use ectoparasiticides like bioresmethrin and bioallethrin.
Colorado Potato Beetle
The Colorado potato beetle affects several plants, including tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.
They are winged with yellow and black coloration.
The adult forms have biting and chewing mouthparts used to eat the tomato leaves.
The female insects lay eggs on the underside of the leaves.
When they hatch, the larvae eat through the leaves as they spread.
They can eat out the leaves of a whole plant.
The larvae hide under the leaves during the day to cause havoc at night.
Spray them with neem oil to physically remove larvae, eggs, and adult beetles.
To control these bugs, you can also spray pesticides with pyrethrins on tomato plants.
These bugs appear as brown marmorated insects with an unpleasant smell.
The insects use their mouthpart for sucking tomato juice.
These insects cause uneven yellow spots, which you can see on ripening tomato fruits.
The spots appear on sites where the insects pierce the fruit for juice-sucking.
Insecticides containing permethrin can eliminate stink bugs.
Mix kaolin with water as an organic treatment against stink bugs.
Other Bugs in Tomato Plants
- Flea beetles are quite small—only 1/10″—jet black and can jump fairly far for their size.
- In the US, blister beetles are most prevalent in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic, and south.
- If left unchecked, leafhoppers can cause some damage to your tomatoes, though they usually cause more trouble for other foods. Leafhoppers transfer infections that can quickly spread from plant to plant and cause fatal diseases. Like aphids, you can kill leafhoppers with a strong water spray. Consider using a row cover to shield your plants if you have a severe infestation.
- Psyllids are tiny bugs resembling a cicada about the size of an aphid.
- Nematodes, which are small worms, can result in wilting, yellowing, lumpy swelling on the roots, and poor plant growth. The tarnished plant bug is a tiny 14″ insect with golden, bronze, or reddish spots on a brown background.
- Like vine borers, stalk borers attack the stem of a plant, making it wilt.
More Ways To Get Rid Of Tomato Bugs
Aside from the bug-specific means we have examined, they are more straightforward ways to eliminate bugs.
You can utilize household materials to eliminate these tomato bugs.
You can also make bug repellants at home using baking powder or detergents.
Garlic crushed mixed with water can also be a repellant against tomato bugs.
These are quick home remedies to tomato plant infestations by pests.
In dealing with specific bugs, using neem oil and insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis stood out.
This is a more organic means with less toxicity to other beneficial insects and the environment.
There are other less organic means of getting rid of bugs on tomato plants.
Examples include pesticides and insecticides containing pyrethrin, bioalethrin, dimethoate, fluvalinate, and others.
To enjoy a rewarding tomato harvest, you must get rid of bugs as soon as they appear.
They will not hesitate to destroy your tomato plants, so you must stop them.