Tiny holes and mysterious dirt balls

texann3July 18, 2006

I have tiny holes being eaten in the leaves of my potted tomatoes, and just recently something has been leaving little dirt balls in the ground around the pots (appears to be fecal material). Any idea what this could be from? Thanks.

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Ok, after a little more research I figured out it had to be hornworms leaving the "dirt balls", so I went hunting and removed one from one plant and 3 from another and a-squishing I did go. I'm still not sure about the holes in the leaves though.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 11:44PM
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calzone_24(Sunset Zone 24)

The holes were probably from the hornworms. Were the holes in the leaves right above where you found the "dirt balls"? :-) I have noticed that the hornworms don't leave the frass, I think it's called, on the leaf they are eating, but right below, because they like to hang out and eat on the underside of the leaves.

Having said that, other buggies can leave holes, such as flea beetles. They leave lots of tiny round holes, usually on lower leaves. Hornworms leave larger, more irregular holes.

If you notice a large infestation starting, be sure to read some of the many prior threads about hornworms. Lots of good advice!


    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 10:36PM
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A telltale sign of hornworms are the pyramidal piles of poopie they deposit. They are constantly pooping, so if you see the poopie pile look directly above it to find the culprit. I am thrilled to report finding NONE of these boogers this season (yet!).

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 4:43PM
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