10 Tomato Plant Pests Your Tomato Plants Hate (MUST READ!)

10 Common Tomato Pests
10 Common Tomato Pests

Every home gardener faces the challenge of plant pests and diseases. Sadly, tomatoes are no exception

Having pests in your yard makes matters worse because they not only attack your plants but can spread diseases as well. Therefore, you need to pay special attention to pest control in your tomato garden if you haven’t yet done so.

What are the most Common Tomato Plant Pests?

The 10 most common tomato plant pests are Cutworms, Aphids, Flea Beetles, Root Knot Nematodes, Blister Beetles, Hornworms, Slugs and Snails, Spider Mites, Fruit Worms, and Whitefly

1. Cutworms

Cutworms are small caterpillars that can destroy tomato plants overnight. They are typically grey or brown with black or yellow spots and are approximately two inches long.

These caterpillars work at night, leaving large holes in your tomatoes. But seedlings are the most vulnerable, as well as stems, and they can also cause plants to collapse.

If you notice caterpillars on your tomato plants, cover them with collars around the base of the stems.

The best way to prevent cutworms from damaging your tomato plants is to till the soil frequently, remove all debris, and spray it with a pesticide.

If you see a cutworm, just use your hands to grab it, and you’ll have no further trouble with them.

Summary: Cutworms are an all-natural problem for tomatoes, but one that can cause havoc if not managed well. It’s important to tiller the soil frequently to keep them from gaining a foothold, and picking off any they find can prevent problems down the road.

2. Aphids

Aphids are common tomato plant pests, but also one of the most destructive. Their soft bodies and round shape can be white, black, brown, or even pink.

They’re sapsuckers and can leave behind sticky goo, attracting other unwanted insects. If left unchecked, they will reduce your plant’s yield and may eventually kill it.

Infestations of pests are usually not a serious problem. If your plants have been severely infected by small, non-destructive pests, they may reduce your plant yield, and could even kill your plant.

Summary: Aphids are one of the most destructive pests in tomatoes and potatoes. Small infestations aren’t much of an issue, but they can be easily evicted. If left untreated, they will reduce your plant yield and ultimately kill the plant.

3. Flea beetles

Flea beetles are very small insects that can look like little fleas, and adults grow to only about a tenth of an inch.

They jump on plants and may chew holes in leaves, so you’ll need to control them by rototilling around your plants.

You may want to dust diatomaceous earth on your plants because they spread bacteria and viruses to your plants. Diatomaceous earth is used to prevent and control several other insect infestations of plants in home gardens.

Flea beetles are quite a bit easier to control than other beetles, and there are several good ways to stop them from getting established, including using row covers, yellow sticky traps, and the use of biological controls.

Summary: One of the best methods to prevent flea beetle infestations is to use diatomaceous earth. It also works to prevent or control several other types of pests, including the flea beetle itself.

4. Root-Knot Nematodes

Root-knot nematodes are the only kind of parasitic nematode species that are widely distributed in the United States.

They’re found in areas with warmer temperatures and shorter winters. To control these pests, it’s important to have good hygiene while gardening.

They often hitch a ride on garden tools and boots so you should rotate your crops to prevent their spread. Nematodes take several years to establish themselves in the soil.

It’s important to rotate crops and tilled the soil to prevent weeds from becoming entrenched. Planting nematode-resistant tomatoes is a perfect preventative measure. These will have an “N” listed next to their name.

5. Blister Beetles

Blister beetles can be quite destructive to plants and can be a nuisance to gardeners. They are black, red or gray with stripes.

They are most common in the Midwest, along with the east and southern parts of the US. The best way to control these pests is to pick them off with gloved hands and remove the damaged plants quickly.

If you want to prevent your tomato plants from being infested with blister beetles, pick the beetles off the leaves with your fingers as they appear and drop them in a bucket of soapy water.

Also, protect your plants by placing row covers around the plants.

Summary: The best way to prevent blistered beans is to pick the beetles off the leaves with your fingers and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. If they’re a problem in your area, protect your bean plants with well-anchored row covers.

6. Hornworm

Hornworms look like small caterpillars but are about three inches long. They blend in well with the tomato foliage since they are light green.

Hornworms have a straight black horn on their head that makes them easy to spot and get rid of.

Hornworms can damage entire plants by chewing off leaves, and may occasionally attack the surface of tomato fruits. They also lay eggs on the underside of the leaves.

They are about the size of your little finger and can be found on the underside of leaves.

Simply pick them off with your fingers or a pair of gardening gloves. Move them far away from your crops, and keep an eye out for further infestations.

summary: You should see hornworms during the day, as they are most active during the early morning and evening. Remember they are larger than caterpillars and can blend in well with your plant’s foliage.

7. Slugs and Snails

Garden slugs and snails are common and harmless garden pests that damage vegetable plants by feeding on leaves and fruits. Slugs leave behind large holes in foliage and fruit, and trails of slime. They prefer moist conditions and are most active at night.

If you are concerned about slugs and snails in your vegetable garden then the best solution is to pick them off, change watering practices, or use a beer trap.

For a beer trap, prepare a shallow dish or bucket of tap water that you can keep at soil level in your garden. Beer is poisonous to slugs. The slugs are attracted to the beer and will drown in it. To ensure your plants are well watered, water in the morning.

summary: Slugs can cause significant damage, especially to young plants. Try using beer as a deterrent to keep them away from your tomato plants.

8. Spider Mites

Spider mites are found throughout the world and are most commonly found in dry climates, as well as in warm temperatures.

Spider mites are very aggressive and can easily spread from one plant to another through a web. They do not leave a telltale trail behind, so you may not realize that they have infested your plants until it is too late.

They can also harm your garden by killing plants or leaving them stunted.

The best way to prevent spider mites is to monitor your plants for signs of infestation and treat them as soon as you find them.

This will help keep the spider mites from spreading. You may want to use a soap-based insecticide such as neem oil or diatomaceous earth to kill spider mites, but it’s best to spray directly on the spider mites themselves rather than on your plants.

Spraying on plants will be ineffective and may also leave your plants unpleasantly doused.

summary: Spider mites are very aggressive and can easily spread from one plant to another. They do not leave a telltale trail behind, so you may not realize that they have infested your plants until it is too late.

9. Tomato Fruit Worms

The most damaging tomato plant pest is tomato fruit worms. They attack tomatoes, peppers, corn, and tobacco.

Adult fruit worms are actually moths. Their larvae are yellowish and around two inches long. They lay white eggs that can be found on the lower sides of smaller leaves, close to the fruits.

The larvae of tomato fruitworms are known to burrow into nearby fruit and hatch during mid-summer.

To prevent these worms from feeding on your tomato fruits, hand pick the worm, eggs, or larvae as soon as they appear and destroy them. Another option to eradicate these fruitworms is to plant tomatoes with corn.

summary: Fruit worms lay white eggs that can be found on the lower sides of smaller leaves. To prevent these worms from feeding on your tomato fruits, handpick the worm, eggs, or larvae as soon as they appear and destroy them.

10. Whitefly

Whiteflies are minute insects, similar to aphids, that are very common in the summer.

They can be hard to spot because they blend into their surroundings in order to avoid whitefly infestations, you need to get rid of them early on.

If you let them continue on, your plants will be more susceptible to disease. Ladybugs are great because they eat the whiteflies in a hurry. Using horticultural oil will help keep your plants healthy, as well as reduce whiteflies.

In addition to being helpful in preventing pests, they will also protect your plants from disease.

summary: A horticultural oil will help keep your plants healthy, as well as reduce whiteflies. Soil tilling, crop rotation, correct watering methods, keeping your plants healthy, and keeping a close eye out for signs of pests are all crucial parts of pest prevention. Keep your plants healthy by using Horti. ­­ ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

To Put it All Together

Pest management is not just about spraying pesticides on your plants. Prevention is the best way to control pests.

Preventing pests on your tomato plants is much easier than trying to eradicate them. Planting cover crops, maintaining healthy soil, and practicing crop rotation are a few examples of ways you can prevent pests.

While they may not be as effective as pesticides, they are still an essential part of pest management. The best plant pest management strategies will include these methods and more.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you control tomato hornworms?

You can use a Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) based organic insecticide to control young tomato hornworms, but it is not always effective against mature caterpillars.

More mature hornworms may survive the treatment, and there will be more new eggs hatching all the time, which is why organic gardeners are taught to be sharp hornworm scouts.

Read More about how to control hornworms here

Can tomato plants recover from aphids?

Yes, they can if you get to them in time and get rid of the aphids the plants will recover.

I have saved plants that were completely covered with aphids by washing them off and using several different products like neem oil and insecticidal soap.

Can tomato plants recover from aphids?

Yes they can if you get to them in time and get rid of the aphids the plants will recover.

I have saved plants that were completely covered with aphids by washing them off and using several different products like neem oil and insecticidal soap.

Can tomato plants recover from aphids?
Yes, they can if you get to them in time and get rid of the aphids the plants will recover.

I have saved plants that were completely covered with aphids by washing them off and using several different products like neem oil and insecticidal soap.

This is the safest way to control aphids.

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