I've heard these are damaging to tomatoes...True/False?
If true, what is the best organic (non-pesticide) way to get rid of them?
Stinkbugs can cause cosmetic damage to fruits. Where they bite the fruits they inject a toxin that kills plant cells and on a ripe tomato you see it as a yellow exterior area and the tissue underneath is hard and white. The condition is known as Cloudy Spot.
In my tomato patch they don't become bothersome every year and I ignore them, so I can't tell you what organic methods you can use.
But I bet if you enter Cloudy Spot at Google you might come up with something organic since the normal prevention is with conventional insecticides for those who do that.
hardeng, it depends. Some folks have tomatoes practically ruined by them, others see little, if any damage.
I'm going to go ahead and link to an earlier thread where this was discussed a bit in the event you decide you need to take some action. Hopefully it will give you some ideas.
Here is a link that might be useful: stink bugs
Stinkbugs are the only tomato pest I have. Luckily, they have chosen one or 2 varieties each year and leave the rest alone, but with some damage to whatever is the earliest ripening. Last year all the damage was on a variety called Orange-1, and it was fairly early, but produced all season, making for some very happy stinkers. The previous year they went for Prudens Purple, then Brandywine later.
So essentially, Orange-1 served as a "trap crop" saving the rest from attack.
However, in Florida you may have a much higher, and/or multiple, populations to contend with. The difficulty with using conventional insecticides to deal with them though is twofold. First, as they are beetles with a hard shell, contact insecticides are less effective unless very strong. Second, common insecticides that kill from injestion don't work as stinkbugs pierce the fruit and get their nourishment inside.
This year I am going to try Surround, an organic product made of kaolin clay that was originally touted for preventing sunscald, but supposedly either repels bugs or "masks" the fruit with the thin white film it leaves.
We'll see. I got a $25 off certificate in a Gardens Alive catalog. Even though they charge an outrageous $25/5#, I only pay the $8.50 shipping making it fairly priced. I've had sunscald problems with my early tomatoes anyway, and hope it will also deal with the stinkbugs. If not, I'll be planting Orange-1 again next year just for the stinkers. LOL
I don't grow huge numbers of tomato plants (usually twenty or twenty-five plants per season), and I use organic methods. Stink bugs are difficult to control with organic pesticides, because you also kill off the beneficials. What I use is a hand- held battery op vacuum (the Scorpion to be exact), and patrol daily, vacuuming up squash bugs, stink bugs, and cuke beetles, then I dump the cannister out in soapy water to kill them.
i have found some stink bugs on my tomato plants also, well actually they seem to target just a couple of plants, and the following pic is the damage they cause to the tomato if im not mistaken. Does it change the taste of the tomato?
Here is a link that might be useful:
They make little puncture wounds on the tomatoes. It's doesn't really seem to damage them if you eat them pretty quickly after picking, but after picked, they spoil faster. At least that's my experience.
I solved my Stink Bug problem by accident four years ago when I noticed that they were going to my Sunflower's instead of my tomatoes. So I started planting Sunflowers about 30 feet away and when the Stink Bugs flock to them I squish them with my organic thumb and fingers.
Who knows? You might give it a try, it seems to work for me.
I have a Stink Bug / Leaf-footed Bug war on my hands.
I have killed almost 40 of them in the last few days. They aren't constraining themselves to any one plant or any one variety.
Of course they are almost always found in the densest foliage. I will never again plant tomatoes that closely together -- they hide where it's hard to reach and hard to see them.
I have mixed up a batch of 8 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper, and 4 cups of hot water and am letting it steep for 2 days. It's supposed to be a very effective spray-on pest deterrent. Hopefully that will accomplish something. Should I add a few drops of dish soap or clairol shampoo to this spray bottle?
I can't be in the garden 24/7 (although I've tried!).
Foliage damage was frustrating enough (leaf miners and hornworms) but this is really chapping my hide. Yes, I can cut those spots out, but I was hoping to give tomatoes to friends and it's a bit hard to explain that the spot is "no big deal" but yet they should be sure to cut it out before eating.
Does insecticidal soap work? Are there any other insecticides or bait worth considering? I guess next year I will grow some sunflowers.
I wouldn't use it all because it's not really not going to be effective, shampoo or not.
Does insecticidal soap work?
Only on the nymphs. Translation: not really.
Are there any other insecticides or bait worth considering?
Carbaryl (Sevin) works quite well on stink and leaf footed bugs. If you decide to use it, (1) use the spray, not the dust (2) be aware that there's a withholding period on days to harvest after treatment (read the label) (3) it is a non-selective insecticide and will kill any beneficials as well.
There are also other recommendations made in the UC IPM link I've pasted in below. But I will say that many of those are not available to the home gardener AND also, I would never use any sort of systemic fungicide or insecticide on edibles (I see that they've recommended imidacloprid as a possibility).
Also, millet is a great trap crop. Google 'millet' and 'stink bug' sometime.
Here is a link that might be useful: UC IPM - stink bugs
Hmm. Would placing a decoy storebought tomato in the garden help any? Grocery stores sell overripe tomatoes super cheap. I wonder if I could place some in the garden, then throw them away when/if they end up covered with stink bugs.