The emergence of pests and diseases is a common occurrence in keeping crops. Therefore, it is vital to know how to handle these ravaging threats.
Tomato plants are not left out of the 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 your tomatoes.
Before this happens, you must learn about ways to deal with them. Here 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 the insects and pests. It is usually appropriate for bugs with considerable sizes and not many.
This a method that is effective against macro pests like rodents. Insect pests like aphids, budworms, thrips, and others can easily evade physical methods. Due to the large numbers of these insects, physical killing becomes ineffective.
Tomatoes pest control through chemical method is with the use of 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 to be 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 the 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 dogs use to kill rats or fowl to eat grasshoppers and other insects. Parasitic wasps can also be used 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 to deal with. 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. At every stage of growth, different bugs can affect one or more parts of the plant. These bugs majorly eat the leaves of the tomato plant.
These are caterpillars with tough skin. They usually have irregular stripes on their back and side of their body. They can be green, brown, or reddish. Budworms destroy the foliage by eating them.
They are hatched from the eggs of a moth with brown forewings. The white eggs are laid on the plants. They hatch into the budworms that feed on the leaves.
Control: Spraying the plant with the 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 rather cut the plant stem leading to a collapse of the plant. Young plants and seedlings are most vulnerable to this attack.
The cutworm appears brown to black, soft-bodied, and hairless in the soil. They are only active at night. They are larvae of a moth.
Control: Cutworms are controlled by spraying the tomato with pesticides. These sprays should contain spinosad, diazinon, and cyfluthrin. Sprays of Bacillus Thuringiensis is a more organic means of getting rid of whiteflies.
The hornworms are green worms about 2-3 inches with tiny horns on their heads. They have a rigged body that is camouflaged to resemble tomato stems. These bugs eat the leaves of the tomato plant at night.
Control: organic insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis can be used. Handpicking the worms can also be a reasonable mean of getting rid of 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 wingless. They can be carriers of disease-causing viruses.
Control: Biological means can be used as other beneficial insects can eat them. Aphids can also be controlled with the use of neem oil sprays and horticultural soap.
Pesticides containing pyrethrum, fluvalinate, and dimethoate can also be used to get rid of aphids.
Russet Mite And Spider Mite
Russet mites are so small that they require a hand lens to be seen. 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 the russet mites. They also damage the stems and roots of the tomato. The stems get bronzed, and the leaves deformed.
Control: Neem oil spray is a good remedy against both mites. Insecticidal soap and horticultural soap are also good ways of ridding your garden of these bugs.
These are larvae of moths that are leave eaters. They are found on tomato, potato, and other vegetable leaves. Looper caterpillars are soft-bodied, with bands on their body. Their name “looper” came from their looping movement.
Control: Sprays of pesticides containing spinosad, diazinon, and Bacillus Thuringiensis are ways to eliminate them.
These are small torpedo-shaped insects that may be green, yellow, black, or grey. They consume the sap from the leaves, fruits, and flowers of tomato. More harm is done to the tomato when these insects act as the source of the spotted wilt disease.
Thrips are carriers of the virus that cause this disease that leads to serious damage. In a severe case, the thrips can be in large numbers making control difficult.
Control: Using dustings of sulfur or sprays of imidacloprid, diazinon, or dimethoate are ways to get rid of thrips. Horticultural soap can also be used to get rid of them.
They are mainly found 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 small moths. They can infest the tomato plants in large numbers.
Control: Other insects like ladybirds, lace-wings, and hoverflies feed on the whiteflies. These insects can be used as a biological means of controlling whiteflies. The use of neem oil and horticultural soap are good methods. Ectoparasiticide like bioresmethrin and bioallethrin can also be used.
Colorado Potato Beetle
Several plants, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and others are affected by the Colorado potato beetle. They are winged with a yellow and black coloration. The adult forms have biting and chewing mouthparts that are used for eating 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.
Control: Spraying with neem oil, physical removal of larvae, eggs, and the adult beetles are control means. Pesticides with pyrethrins can be sprayed on the tomato plants to control these bugs.
These bugs appear as brown marmorated insects with an unpleasant smell. The insects have a mouthpart that is used for sucking tomato juice. They are the cause of uneven yellow spots that are seen on ripening tomato fruits. The spots appear on sites where the insects pierce the fruit for their juice sucking.
Control: Insecticides containing permethrin can be used to get rid of stink bugs. Kaolin mixed with water can also be used as a form of organic treatment against stink bugs.
More Ways To Get Rid Of Tomato Bugs
Asides from the bug-specific means that we have examined, they are more simple ways to get rid of bugs. Some household materials can be employed as agents for these tomato bugs. Bug repellants can be made using baking powder or detergents that we use at home.
Garlic crushed mixed with water can also serve as a repellant against tomato bugs. These are quick home remedies to tomato plant infestations by pests. Dealing with specific bugs, the use of 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. Pesticides and insecticides containing pyrethrin, bioalethrin, dimethoate, fluvalinate, and others are examples.
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; it is left to you to stop them.