Holes in tomato - see photo

livegreenJuly 27, 2010

My tomato plants are all Better Boys that I grew from seed. The plants are watered by a sprinkler on a timer every morning at 6:30 unless rain is expected or fell the night b4. I've included one photo of the vines with the morning sun on them and one photo of a stricken tomato.

I understand about the cracking, green shoulders and cat facing (not shown in photos) but I have questions about the pest damage:

1. Can I cut off the top where the tomato was bitten and eat the rest?

2. What nasty thing is tunneling into my tomatoes?

3. Another tomato (no photo) showed a similar kind of invasion except that the damage looked more like an open tunnel - same location. Is that the same pest?

4. What can I do about it?

Thanks, All for your time and help.

Image link:

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torquill(z9/sunset15 CA)

Both of those may be tomato fruitworm (aka corn earworm). It likes to tunnel in under the stem and eat around the top, leaving nasty excrement behind it. I've seen a bit of it myself this year.

Go ahead and cut off the top to eat the rest, so long as the fruit hasn't rotted too much from the wounds. The damage is all mechanical, and it certainly won't poison you to eat the rest of the tomato.

The most effective treatment for fruitworm is Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), which is an organic and harmless insecticide that works against caterpillars. It's available at any nursery or garden department. I've heard good things from people who have used it.

Hope that helps!


    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 2:34PM
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Thanks so much, Alison. I'm going right out now to get some!


    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 3:44PM
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