Is this slugs eating my tomatoes?

dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)May 1, 2012

Curious if this is slugs eating on my young tomatoes and would appreciate advise on controlling them. This is the second one to show this damage and both were low on the plant. Thanks and appreciate any advise.


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Were these laying on the ground where slugs would have access? If not then I'd suspect either squirrels or hornworms although the bites are very round so squirrels would be my first guess.

If they are close to the ground then turtles will also make bites like that.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 12:22PM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Hey Dave, I guess my post didn't take so here we go again.
These small fruits were about a foot off the ground. No other leaf damage was apparent and searched of other critters and saw nothing. The edge of the wound is very smooth and it goes quite deep into the middle of the fruit. I set out a couple of beer traps and got a bunch of small worms that were very light in color and maybe 3/4 - 1". No adult slugs. Any other thoughts? Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 1:10PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Have you seen any army worms? They are wrecking havoc this year in our neck of the woods and up into yours right now. We even made the national news. Whoopee!

No sign of box turtles? That's a classic box turtle bite look. Otherwise I'll stick with squirrels. Slugs just don't climb that high.


Here is a link that might be useful: Army worm pics

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 1:43PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Mice/rats is another possibility.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 1:44PM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Looked hard for army worms and found nothing. No box turtles either. I did set some beer traps about dusk and check them at 10:00 with a flashlight and definately small slugs are getting in. Very small but obviously snails. No bigs ones though. I did notice some rollie-pollie bugs (that's the only name I know for them) around the bottom of a couple of plants. Don't want to continue to loose my little tomatoes. I will take a pic tomorrow to see if that helps. Thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 11:14PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Caterpillars of one kind or another. Check at night with a flashlight & dispatch when found.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:02AM
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I vote for some sort of catepillar/worm. The bite is too smooth and too round to be a turtle or squirrel. Plus, with squirrels, you will usually see bite (teeth) marks where they taste - test the fruit first.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 7:41AM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

I bet its a tomato horn worm or some other worm/caterpillar. They camouflage really well in the tomato plants and can be hard to spot if you have a lot of plants. I say check your plants carefully I bet you'll find the culprit.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 9:02AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

More evidence a hornworm is hiding somewhere. Searched for 30 minutes under ever leaf and stalk and cannot find the little menace. It looks like some hornworm dropping and a few leaves are completely chewed off. Will go out tonight and see if it's active but sure couldn't find the culpret anywhere. Checked the adjacent plant, but nothing. grrrrrrr!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 10:47AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Spray the plants with the hose and sometimes horn worms move a bit so you can see them in the day time.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 3:05AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Thanks everyone for all the help. Do far, no more damage but I am sure I now know what damage to look for now. The birds in the garden yesterday at noon may have solved me hunting failure as at midnight last night with a flashlight resulted in nothing and there is no more damage this morning. Will keep a close eye out. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:17AM
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