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Can you identify this small worm on tomato plant?

Posted by jbclem z9b Topanga, Ca (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 29, 08 at 5:55

Most of my tomato plants have been decimated by this little worm. Even at 1/4"(1/16" wide) long they can make the edge of a leaf curl all the way over their green bodies, although on a larger leaf only a portion of the edge will curl over(or be folder over). They eat at the leaves, but the major damage seems to be after they have departed...a lot of the leaves seem to dry up, turning brown and easily crumbled. I'm not sure if this damage is caused by some chemical they secrete, or a virus.

I've included some photos of this worm. It's not a hornworm, and I'm pretty sure it's not a fruit worm (too green). I'm trying to catch the adult moth with a bug zapper, which is working, but I'm not sure which moth it is. I think it's a moth that's about 1/2" long with long thin wings (different from most moths that have wide full wings). At least that's what I see flying around the tomato plants the most at night.

Any comments?

Image link: Can you identify this small worm on tomato plant? (33 k)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Can you identify this small worm on tomato plant?

  • Posted by jbclem z9b Topanga, Ca (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 29, 08 at 6:05

I forgot to mention that I've had very few tomato fruits, and although there have been two small red tomatoes with black worm holes, these worms are doing fine with the leaves; they don't seem to need fruit to survive and turn into moths.


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RE: Can you identify this small worm on tomato plant?

There are many different moths whose larva will roll leaves up, for protection, while they eat the leaf and grow to adulthood. The simplest control for these is to simply squish them in the leaf. There are also moths that lay eggs that become the larva that are known as the Tomato Fruitworm and is the same as the European Corn Earworm that get inside your tomato fruit. The only control there is to find the eggs they will hatch from and destroy them.


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RE: Can you identify this small worm on tomato plant?

  • Posted by jbclem z9b Topanga, Ca (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 30, 08 at 20:11

Actually, there are other controls...I'm currently using a bug zapper, for example, and there may be attractants for certain moths. And safer soap is supposed to work. But I need to identify this worm and it's adult moth form. Anyone?


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RE: Can you identify this small worm on tomato plant?

Try posting over on the Butterfly forum; they really know their caterpillars. Or maybe the Tomato Pest & Disease forum.


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RE: Can you identify this small worm on tomato plant?

  • Posted by jbclem z9b Topanga, Ca (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 1, 08 at 4:17

Great idea, I didn't know about the Tomato Pest forum.


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