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Tomato pests: Helpful tips on how to recognize them and successfully fight them with home remedies.

Homegrown tomatoes are a source of pride, beauty and indescribably delicious. To produce the perfect tomato, you must be vigilant. Keep an eye on the health of your plants, watch for larvae and other insects, and watch for signs of disease. A number of tomato problems can take a toll on your favorite plants. Part of responding quickly is making sure you have the most efficient tools, products and methods ready when problems arise. We’ll show you the most common tomato pests and name eco-friendly solutions to get rid of them.

What are the most common tomato pests?

Tomato pests recognize and successfully fight - tips

The first task with an unhappy tomato plant is to diagnose the problem. Websites with pictures can be enormously helpful here. We present some pictures of possible pests on your tomato plant.

If you see an insect on or near your beloved tomato plants, don’t immediately reach for the nearest insecticide. Many insects are beneficial or at least neutral to the garden. This insect may be feeding on the very pests you are having trouble with. Even if it is an enemy, one insect does not make an infestation. Some of the most common tomato pests are:

  1. Aphids
  2. Whiteflies
  3. Black flies
  4. Earthworms

Getting rid of tomato pests: the right plants for the right place.

Finding the right place for tomato plants in the garden

Pests are more likely to infest your tomatoes and other plants when the plants are under stress. When growing tomatoes, as with all other plants, it is important to plant them in the right places: The vegetable goes well with marigolds. You need to make sure that the right environmental conditions are present. It is then much less likely that pests will take root, and if they do, they are less problematic and easier to control . Plants that are in good condition are much more resilient and more likely to fend off pest problems.

Pests on tomato plants – the aphids.

Recognize aphids

The most common tomato pests - pictures

The most common tomato pest, but also one of the most destructive, is the aphid. These critters have soft, pear-shaped bodies and are typically white, black, brown or even pink. Aphids infest a wide range of plants, including relatives of the tomato, potatoes and eggplants.

They settle on new shoots and on the underside of young leaves. Aphids are sap-sucking insects and leave behind a sticky substance that attracts various other nuisance insects. Although they are one of the most destructive insects, especially in more temperate climates, a small infestation is not a major problem. However, if left untreated, they will reduce the yield of your plants and can even cause the plants to die.

Easily eliminate the tomato pests

Successfully get rid of aphids with home remedies

Fortunately, aphids are easy to get rid of. Due to their small size, they are easy to wipe or pick off with your fingers and kill. Also, you can spray them off with a spray bottle. The water spray will blast them off the tomato plant and leave no damage. A natural soapy water (or nettle broth) applied with a spray bottle is another common way to smother the bugs. You can also use an organic pesticide based on neem oil or canola oil to control tomato pests.

In extreme cases, it may be necessary to prune or cut off the infested leaves or other plant parts. To prevent aphid infestations, for example, plant nasturtiums to attract aphids away from your tomatoes and choose plants that attract predatory insects such as ladybugs and hoverflies.

Pests on tomatoes: whiteflies

What are whiteflies?

Pests on tomato plants - whitefly

Whiteflies are tiny insects closely related to aphids. They are found in almost all regions and usually feed on the underside of plant leaves. Whiteflies are commonly found on tomatoes, especially when grown indoors or in greenhouses. Both nymphs and adults damage plants by sucking sap, resulting in growth disturbances, leaf yellowing and yield loss.

Successfully control whiteflies as tomato pests.

Getting rid of whitefly on tomatoes - Tomato pests

Whiteflies can spread disease and make plants more susceptible to other problems. Therefore, it’s important to nip an infestation in the bud before it gets too bad. Attract predatory insects to reduce their numbers. And consider other measures as described for aphids.

Tomato pests – the black flies

Thrips easy to recognize

Detect tomato pests - thrips - black fly

Thrips are tiny insects that are quite difficult to see, so an infestation can easily get out of control before you notice it. Telltale signs of a thrips infestation include dry or brown spotted leaves, fallen leaves and blotchy flowers. While it’s unlikely that thrips themselves will kill your plants, they could transmit diseases that do.

Eliminate thrips quickly

Fighting black fly with natural means - ladybugs

Watch for infestations and remove infested material as soon as possible. Attract beneficial, predatory insects like ladybugs through plantings and attract insect-eating birds to your garden to keep thrips populations in check. For heavy infestations, you can use organic soap-based sprays.

Earthworms as pests on tomato plants.

Earthworms – extremely damaging

Earthworms as tomato pests in the garden

Earthworms are capable of killing a tomato plant overnight. These gray or brown caterpillars with black or yellow spots are about two inches long and extremely damaging. These stealthy caterpillars work at night, leaving large holes in your tomatoes. But the fruit is not the only victim. Seedlings are usually the most susceptible, but the caterpillars also attack the stems, eventually causing the plant to fall over. During the day, they hide under the soil or under plant debris.

Get rid of soil caterpillars

Fighting earthworms with home remedies - Tips

The best way to prevent soil worm infestations is to work the soil regularly and remove all plant debris before planting tomatoes. If you spot a worm, simply pick it off with your hands. You can also sprinkle cornmeal around the plants, which will kill the caterpillars on the tomatoes if they eat it. Also, water well, as this can also help drive these pests away.