Insect Pests of Tomato Plants: Tips for Treating Tomato Pests

Some gardeners almost faint in front of a perfect tomato plant. Although nature is perfect, the fact is that our cultivated tomatoes rarely achieve this noble goal. Many insects harmful to tomato plants lurk around the corner, ready to destroy your precious relics. Although the damage caused by insects to tomatoes is minimal, the pests themselves are often vectors of disease. It is therefore imperative that you recognize insect damage to tomatoes and learn how to treat tomato pests.

Insect pests of tomato

There are many pests on tomato plants – these are among the most common.


The most common pests of tomatoes and almost everything else (at least in my garden) are aphids. Aphids populate new stems and the underside of leaves leaving a sticky honey trail. They suck the nutrient-rich sap from the plant. Honeydew attracts other insect pests.

A strong jet of water can wash them, but it could damage the tomato. You can also spray an insecticidal soap or garlic oil spray to reduce the population or encourage natural predators, such as lace or ladybugs, which will gladly help reduce their numbers.


Beetles also like to eat their tomatoes and if there are too many of them, they can defoliate a plant. These medium-sized black, red, gray or striped beetles eat grasshopper eggs, which can be a good thing, but their unbridled appetite for tomato foliage is less desirable.

Pick these plant parasites by hand and place them in a bucket of soapy water.

Grey worm

Another insect infestation on tomato plants is a problem-free underground operator. The cutworm is a one-inch long caterpillar that twists into a C-shape under the ground and can gut young plants at the surface.

Use a necklace made of paper cups with the bottom cut off or a 2 cm portion of a tube of toilet paper stuck around the bottom and just below the soil surrounding the roots of the plant. This can prevent worms from gnawing on the tomato. Shallow cans, such as tuna cans with the bottom cut off, work in the same way. The blood meal spread around the plant also repels worms. In addition, the garden should be dug in early spring to expose thieves and kill them by freezing or starving them.

Flea beetles

Flea beetles are another insect pest of tomato plants. These tiny dark brown metal beetles feed on holes in the leaves, which eventually stun or even kill young plants.

Remove weeds around plants where beetles nest and spray tomatoes with insecticidal soap. It is also said that basil planted nearby grows them back.


Grasshoppers also like to chew their tomatoes. These wedge-shaped, light green jumping insects feed on the sap and cause the leaves to curl up, but that’s not the real problem. Grasshoppers transmit pathogens that can cause devastating plant diseases.

As with aphids, a strong spray of water can eliminate them or spray them with soap or organic pesticide or sulphur dust. Also try to cover the plants with a floating blanket.

Spider moths

Tomato spider mites are tiny insects that produce webs that make the plant appear covered with white mold. Their favorite places are the leaf tips and flower buds, but they also feed on the sap of the leaves.

Maintain the tomato plant with constant watering, which reduces the incidence of these mites, and avoid the use of nitrogen fertilizers. Use predatory mites to help control nuisance mites. Wash the plant with mild soap and rinse well to remove some of the mites and prune heavily infested areas.


Nematodes are microscopic worms that cause strange root swelling, yellow foliage, wilting and plant atrophy. They spread easily on your garden tools and boots.

The key to treating these pests in tomatoes is sanitation. Sterilize your tools, boots and gloves. Clean potentially contaminated jars with a 10% solution of water and bleach. Remove and destroy all infected plants.

Remove as much of the surrounding infected soil as possible. To treat the soil, plant marigolds, then when they have finished flowering, push them underneath. The chemicals that are released are detestable to nematodes. Also, only plant nematode-resistant tomatoes, which will have an «N» under the plant’s name.

Slugs and snails

Slugs and snails are always present in my region. They will eat both foliage and fruit near the surface of the ground.

Pick these slimy pests by hand or make a trap with a shallow beer pot placed near the plants. If you prefer to drink your beer, use a tablespoon of flour, 18 teaspoons of yeast and a cup of water. Commercial bait also works. Also, to discourage snails and slugs, cover tomatoes with a coarse hay mulch or place large stones around the plants.

Tomato worm

Tomato worms, also called corn worms and cotton worms, are yellow to gray striped worms 2 cm long. They tunnel in the fruit and feed on the leaves of tomatoes.

Larvae and eggs can be hand selected to reduce the population. In addition, he ploughs the soil in the fall to expose the nymphs where predators or cold weather will kill them. Bacillus thuringiensis is also an effective means of controlling these caterpillars and other worms, as is the use of garlic sprays.

White flies

Whiteflies mainly affect tomatoes grown in greenhouses or indoor plants.

Spray foliage in the morning to interrupt feeding and dislodge eggs, nymphs and pupae. Lower temperatures will also reduce whitefly activity. A natural predator, Encarsia formosa can reduce populations. (marker__1)

Wire worm

The wireworm is a light brown worm with a hard body. They are in the larval stage of the beetle and feed on the stems and underground roots, atrophying the plant and reducing yield. They feed on the stems and underground roots, which atrophies the plant and reduces yield.

As you can see, there are a multitude of pests that can affect tomatoes. Identifying and treating pests in tomatoes is the key to crushing the problem as quickly as possible. If possible, plant pest-resistant varieties; practice crop rotation; keep the garden and sanitation equipment; place stakes and mulch on tomatoes to prevent them from coming into contact with the soil; and use modified, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Inspect your seedlings and transplants and discard them if you see signs of infestation or disease.

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