Parasitic wasps are very small and do not sting people. Despite their large size, hornworms are not usually noticed until they strip a considerable amount of foliage from a tomato plant, which can happen in a matter of a few days if several caterpillars are feeding on the same plant. The stems of mine that were eaten through were over half an inch in diameter, so definitely not cut-worms. Hornworms will continue to multiply through the rest of the growing season, making control now and throughout the summer essential to keep your tomatoes productive. Because they break down quickly, most organic pesticides need to be reapplied more often than synthetic sprays to maintain plant protection. Spread the Bt near the base of the soil and after a few days, you should have gotten rid of the cutworms. They almost always occur in groups, so a hornworm … They may feed on the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruit of the tomato plant. Learn more about tomato insect pests and diseases from these Clemson Extension fact sheets: Learn more about natural pest control and related topics from these recent Pender Gardener articles: Use Extension Search to find research based information from Cooperative Extension systems across the U.S. Visit your local Cooperative Extension office to learn more about gardening and landscape care. What's eating my plants? The tomato plant will grow new roots all along the stem if planted underground. It’s a real pain to go out in the garden and see that your tomato plant stem has been eaten up and the culprit is not in sight. Pre harvest intervals vary among insecticides from 0 to 21 days or more. This can be a problem with chipmunks and squirrels as well. The solution to this problem is to keep an outdoor cat that can get rid of them. Below are some common Iowa leaf noshers with key elements that will help you identify them. My tomato plants are about 3' tall and doing well. “What is eating my tomato’s leaves?” you wonder. Take a closer look. When applying any insecticide be sure to read and follow all label directions and pay careful attention to the pre harvest interval. Tomato and tobacco hornworms are closely related large, bright green caterpillars that feed on the leaves of tomatoes, as well as angel trumpet (Brugmansia and Datura species), tobacco, eggplant and occasionally peppers. When you grow a tomato plant that gets tall, you need to support it using a trellis or cage. How to Tell What's Eating Your Garden Plants From insects to deer to rabbits, there are plenty of potential culprits eating your garden's plants, and there are just as many ways to stop them. They could also be attacked by pests like rats, voles, rabbits, squirrels, or birds. Voles can cause considerable damage to tomato plants and are a common pest for backyard gardeners. However, something is tearing off inches - the whole length of the outside stalk - and hollowing out the inside of the stalk, leaving an empty tube - not eating the leaves or buds, but killing the plant. tomato.half.eaten.JPG. Despite lots of grass and other plants around, the deer chose to nibble the tomatoes. Inspect your tomato plants for hornworms before they devour most of its leaves. You need to consider whether it’s best to trap these animals and release them in another area. This pest has a caterpillar-like shape and crawls around in the soil near the base of the tomato plant. The corn earthworm eats the leaves and blossoms of tomato plants, leaving holes in them. Stripped the stems bare. Your tomato plants can be attacked by rabbits that would eat any tomatoes they can find. The damage is at various heights on the plant, up … Spray late in the evening to minimize impacts on bees and other pollinators. But that depends on the laws of your state. Slugs Cooperative Extension has offices in every county, Family & Consumer Sciences in Pender County, Donate to Pender County Extension Programs…, Environmental Education – Southeastern NC, http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable/tomato-problem-solver/, http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/veg_fruit/hgic2218.html, http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/veg_fruit/hgic2217.html, Controlling Pests with Natural Insecticides, https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/local-county-center/, Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center, Vernon G. James Research & Extension Center, Entomology – Insect Biology and Management, Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, Weed Management in Nurseries, Landscapes & Christmas Trees. You can easily recognize the gnaw marks on the stem to know that it’s caused by rats. You may also find the tunnels they use to move under the ground. I’ve written a lot more details about these pests and insects that will help you figure out the ones attacking your tomato plant stem. Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:45 pm. Make sure to tie the string loose enough to allow the stem to breathe. If you find the stem near the base of the tomato plant has been eaten, there’s a good chance you have a cutworm problem. Adult hornworms, known as sphinx moths, lay new eggs every night, and each female can lay up to 2000 eggs during her short life span. If the string gets too tight, it can cause damage to the stem which may seem like an attack from a pest or disease.