Hey guys, my plants are doing great, but the very first tomato that was on the vine was eaten by something. Any idea what? Here's a pic:
In order of possibility - hornworm, tomato fruitworms, grasshoppers, slugs if it was low to the ground, squirrels if they had access to it.
I'm pretty sure it's not hornworms, there's no damage to the plant. What can I use to control those pests? I'd like to use something organic, but am not opposed to pesticides. Sevin dust?
I vote for caterpillar damage, particularly that large hole.
Here's an interesting page which talks about damage from various caterpillars. Apparently cutworms will eat fruit, if it's on or near the ground.
Please, no Sevin! Sevin kills everything. [But if you're ever in a situation where you do use Sevin, the dust is less damaging to good insects than the spray.]
Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (usually abbreviated BT, BTk, or BT kurstaki) kills caterpillars, and only caterpillars. It takes a while to kill them, so it's best used on young, small caterpillars.
You can find various products containing BT. [Be sure it's "kurstaki," as other types of BT don't kill caterpillars. But of course, in any product advertised to kill caterpillars which contains BT, the BT would be kurstaki.]
Yes, hornworms also eat leaves. But so do many of the other possible caterpillars.
Thanks, I'd only use sevin as a last resort. I've lost the last 2 seasons of tomatos to heat and critters. I'm determined to have some good tomatos this year. I have BT, I'll mix up a batch and spray.
Could be mice. Usually with fruitworms you will have some pitting but far more fruit with just holes and as you might expect once they are burrowed inside the fruit spray won't get to them. Hornworms are more evasive and easily camoflaged but you should notice the foliage missing on parts of this plant. The location of the fruit might be more helpful.
I have a few tomatoes ripening in my high tunnels and the other day I noticed a chipmunk in the one corner. Last night I had a dream that each ripe tomato had a bite out of it. In my vivid dream the bottoms were all knarley and oozing. Today I picked the ripe tomatoes, unaffected and ate them but I share your pain. I would not hesitate to get to the bottom of the problem if I were you.