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Tomato Pests and How to Control Them

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Tomato is one of the easiest to grow if you are a gardening beginner but tomato is also the favorite of pests if you will not take care of them. These pests, if you will not check them regularly, will inflict more damage to your tomato plants. Fortunately, you can get rid of them if you will regularly monitor your tomato plants.

To check your tomato plants, you need to look at the back of the leaves, the stems, and the fruits as most of these pests attack these parts of the tomato plant.

SymptomPest
Leaves have holesFlea beetles
Yellowing or curled leaves, honeydew (white sticky residue)Aphids, whiteflies
Chewed stemTomato cutworm
Leaves are color purplePsyllids
Zigzag patterns in leavesLeaf miners
Hole in stemStalk borer
Webbing on leaf undersidesSpider mites
Dark pin pricks, holes in the fruitTomato fruit worm, slugs
Eat leaves and attack the fruitsPod borer
Plants wilt during the hot part of day, especially under dry conditions and are often stuntednematodes

Pest management

To get rid of these pests, follow the instructions below:

  • Use strong water hose for aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites to dislodge them. You need to do this at least everyday for a week until all the pests have gone.
  • Remove them by hand if they are just beginning to infest your tomato plant and there are only few of them and drown them in a bucket of soapy water or if you are really mad, crush them with your foot (lol).
  • For the hookworm, you can remove them by hand since they are bigger insect. The larvae is always on the leaves and ground. If you see black droppings on the leaves, you must immediately spray it with water.
  • Apply neem oil. Combine neem oil and water and spray them to your tomato leaves but do this in the evening in order not to burn your tomato leaves.
  • Use Chilli-Garlic-Liquid Soap Combine this mixture with water and spray it to your tomato plants especially under the leaves. This is effective for soft-bodied insects.
  • Use beneficial insects including lacewings, parasitic wasps, and ladybugs.
  • For high population of infestations, as a last resort, use a less toxic, short-lived natural pesticide.
  • Keep your plant healthy by regularly giving them enough water because leafminer’s target is the unhealthy plant. If you see that they are starting to attack your plant, remove the leaves and crush them. Do not leave them on the ground. Use plastic mulch to prevent them from dropping into your soil and spread some sticky trap.

Pesticide Recipe:

Here are some of the natural pesticides you can use for your tomato pests. These natural pesticides can also be used in other plants.

  • Hot Chilli Pepper-Onion-Garlic Mixture. Mix 1 tablespoon of chilli powder, one bulb onion and garlic and crush them using blender or mortar and pestle. Add the mixture in 1 liter of water and spray them.
  • Vegetable Oil and Liquid Soap. Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of soap. Add 2 tablespoon in the spray bottle with 1 liter of water, shake and spray directly on the plants affected by pests. This will suffocate the insects.
  • Mix 1 ½ teaspoons of mild liquid soap with 1 liter of water and spray the mixture directly on the affected plants. Apply in the afternoon in order not to burn your plants.
  • Neem oil. Mix 2 teaspoons of neem oil and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap and shake thoroughly with 1 liter of water. Spray them on the affected leaves.
  • Garlic Spray. Puree 2 whole garlic using blender or mortar and pestle and add small amount of water. Let it sit overnight and in the morning, add ½ cup of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap and 1 liter of water. To use this, mix 1 cup of mixture with 1 liter of water and spray them on the infested plants.
  • Hot Chilli Pepper. Puree ½ cup of hot peppers with 1 cup of water, then add 1 liter of water and bring to a boil. Let it cool and strain. Add several drops of liquid soap and spray them in the infested leaves.

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