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Old August 6, 2009   #1
Farmette
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Default Something is eating my tomatoes

Sorry, I can't post pictures as I don't have my camera today. But, if you can imagine a mostly ripe tomato neatly half eaten. It was about 6 inches off the ground in an area bounded by chicken wire. Do you think this is a bug (no bugs on it that i can see) or something else?
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Old August 6, 2009   #2
hasshoes
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Google "tomato hornworm damage" and look at images. They can hide during the day and are difficult to see at night.

Also. . . field mice ( I think they're called voles?) can scurry under chicken wire. Actually I would imagine squirrels etc could go over it too.

Grasshoppers can eat quite a bit too. . . though my first guess would be hornworm. Slugs like to munch but I've never heard of them eating half of a tomato overnight.
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Old August 6, 2009   #3
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Agree with hasshoes.... Field mice probably. They sometimes eat my lower fruits...have seen them in the act!! scoundrels!!! they are!!
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Old August 6, 2009   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I don't know what I would rather have hornworms or mice.
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Old August 19, 2009   #5
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I have found this on my cherry tomato today:


I've never had any problems with grasshoppers
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Old August 19, 2009   #6
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Well, while I have a fair amount of good tomatoes, I continue to have something eating them. The other day there was a very large GWR...when I picked it, the entire bottom half was gone. Found 2 hornworms today...but would they eat that much?
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Old August 19, 2009   #7
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Farmette, they will eat that much and more. Shocking how much those little critters can consume!

Look for their feces to find out if you have them. . . you can find pics on google images.

If you can't find any evidence of worms, you might want to consider concocting gadgets to protect your plants.

In the past what worked for me on mice and voles. . . I put down some cut plastic bagging from contractor bags and a yogurt cup or two underneath to create sort of a dome around the plants.

When a critter started walking up the plastic it would collapse and startle them.

Of course, I think they would figure this out eventually. . . but I only had to do this at the end of the season.

Some people put out mouse traps with gummie bears in them.

Also be on the lookout for chipmunks and squirrels. You can put out sunflower seeds etc out elsewhere to keep them away from the mater. . . as long as you're not in a situation where you'll be drawing more critters onto your property.

Good luck!
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Old August 19, 2009   #8
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Not to be disagreeable but......

In the past two weeks, i have trapped three possums in my garden after experiencing the same. (half-eaten tomatoes)
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Old August 19, 2009   #9
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Ps-- does anyone know how to kill grasshoppers? All of a sudden I have like, a plague of them in my yard. Crickets too. . . and they're starting to sneak in the house!
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Old August 19, 2009   #10
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Yeah. . . a bunch of critters will eat maters. . . that was why I was saying to look for the poop. . . hornworm does seem to be one of the most universal bad guys at least in my limited experience.

Thank gawd I've never had to trap anything. . . yet!
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Old August 20, 2009   #11
Farmette
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So, seeing as how I saw hornworms yesterday, I'm going to try to get rid of them first and see if the holes stop appearing.
Cann anyone vouch for one method over another of getting rid of them. Just picking them off will be hard as there are so many plants and the foliage is quite dense.
Thankj!
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Old August 20, 2009   #12
Ross
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Something to be said for daily observations of progressive fruit ripening in the garden. 6 inches off the ground, and definite mass-eating like what you show, and I'd be inclined to say mice or squirrels did that damage.

I think you would have seen hornworms' presence long before a partly-consumed tomato, like seeing leaf tips disappearing and/or black pellets of poo on the ground or on leaves directly below that critter.
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Old August 20, 2009   #13
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Spray BT. (You can get it at good garden stores under "Safer" brand, etc)

They eat the leaves with it on it and die in two days.
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Old August 20, 2009   #14
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Marko: your bug appears to be a leafhopper. sharpshooter-leafhopper.jpg If so, unlike a grasshopper, it doesn't chew the plant/fruit, it sucks the fluids.

Farmette: If the birds don't find them first, the fastest, cheapest and most yucky method is hand-picking.TomatoHornWorm1.jpg BUT, be careful, catch him behind the head (as you would a snake (ha-ha)) because if you give him enough room to turn, he can reach around and give you a good pinch. You can then pull him off the plant (he'll put up a struggle) and dispose of him (he won't survive a swift descent to the ground).
TomatoHornWorm2.jpg
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Old August 21, 2009   #15
Farmette
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Thanks for all the info. I'm off to get some BT...I do not want to leave any options for these guys. Yesterday, my husband pulled off the ones we found, squished them and said it was like they were made of mostly water. I've spent too much time on these tomatoes to lose them to hornworms.
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