One of the most aggravating things most farmers face is seeing a promising crop being ruined by pests. With tomatoes, the common one is fruitworms which lay their eggs on the plants, and it’s the larvae which usually land in the tomato fruit.
It’s while in there that they feed, develop to maturity, and then destroy the juicy insides afterwards. This is why you urgently need to know how to get rid of tomato fruitworm before these worms ruin your hard work by having their larvae spoil the tomatoes.
The larvae, which is basically the worm, often attacks the tomato fruit the moment it sets, right before it ripens. If your garden has been infested by these worms and are looking for a solution, this article is for you.
How to Get Rid of Tomato Fruitworm
There are a number of ways you can use to destroy these worms on your tomatoes. You can go the organic way or opt for chemicals, so basically it’s all about what you prefer or what you have at hand.
1. Organic options:
• Release the predators
Well, if you want something effortless, let predators deal with the worms on your behalf. You can do this by going the natural way which involves planting dill, parsley and asters next to the tomato plants. It’s these that will in the end attract the parasitic predators like Trichogrammma wasps which feed on the worms.
On the other hand, you can also buy the wasps and release them into your tomato garden. Other parasitic options are: big-eyed bugs, minute pirate bugs and damsel bugs, but these are often attracted to stinging nettle, daisies, goldenrod and alfalfa, so you can also plant them alongside the tomatoes.
• Expose the worms
Tilling around your crops comes with a number of advantages, and in this case, it’s considered to be effective when you want to get rid of fruitworms. However, it’s not about how to till, but when you till. There’s no better time to do so around the tomato plants than when fall knocks.
With this, the worms are more exposed to the predators which will help get rid of the ones lying on the surfaces. Tilling during fall also exposes the worms to cold under which the fruitworm pupae cannot survive.
• Monitor the plants
It’s equally important to regularly check on the tomato plants because with that you can identify any sign of fruitworm infestation. As mentioned earlier, the first thing that happens is that they lay eggs on the leaves, so it’s these that you should look out for so that you don’t give the larvae a chance to proceed to the fruit.
When laid, the eggs usually appear white, after which they turn brown right before they hatch. Whenever you see the eggs or larvae, you can simply handpick and destroy them in order to end their development circle.
2. Use chemicals
Truth be told, organic measures work best for small scale farmers and in situations where the infestation isn’t that bad. When your situation is otherwise, you can use fairly mild chemicals like Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) which is recommended by most experts.
It’s available in granules, liquid and powdered forms so you can pick the one that’s easier to use. However, you have to take loads of precautions during spraying or application so that you get the best from the whole process.
The good thing is that the manufacturer has made it easier for you by indicating instructions that will help guide you.
Tips on How to Prevent Fruitworms from Infesting Your Tomatoes
After learning the tips on how to get rid of tomato fruitworms, it’s also important to know how you can prevent them from infesting your crops in the first place:
1. Isolate them from corn
Apart from tomatoes, corn is another frequent host of these worms. This means that anytime you have corn nearby, the tomatoes are likely to be infested. Therefore, avoid planting the two in the same space.
2. Seal the plants
This is ideal for kitchen gardens or anything small scale because of the work-load involved and is best done before the worms begin laying eggs. With this, you can cover the plants with fine netting to prevent the larvae from entering the fruit. You can also use any other breathable material, provided that the larvae cannot pass through and that they’re plant-friendly.
3. Till regularly
When looking at the ways to get rid of tomato fruitworms, we saw the effectiveness of tilling at fall. In addition to that, you can also ensure that your garden becomes inhabitable for the worms by tilling the soil after you’ve harvested, in early spring and also in late winter.
What this does is destroy the worms at different stages as they develop based on the season, so that they don’t get to develop fully. When tilling becomes a habit, you’ll realize that the cycle will be completely eradicated, therefore you won’t have to worry about the worms again.
Would you like to learn more information regarding how to get rid of tomato fruitworm? If yes then why don’t you check out this interesting video that will help you with even more insights:
The whole process of how to get rid of tomato fruitworm has to include both control and management measures. With management, you have to monitor the eggs and larvae before they’re transformed to fruitworms. Control on the other hand works best before the worms multiply in numbers. The challenge is that at times, the fruit might appear normal on the outside, making it difficult to identify the affected ones.
Still, infected plants tend to ripen faster than the rest, so you can also watch out for such and if you notice a fruitworm hole, get rid of it before the rest are infected. Above all, the fact remains that it’s better to prevent the occurrence of these worms because once they start multiplying in your garden, it will require a lot of efforts to get rid of them.