Grubs Eating My Tomatoes

Question:

I am growing tomatoes but the leaves are going yellow, some of the fruit are splitting and they also look as though they are housing grubs (by the burrowing into the fruit). All suggestions will be gratefully accepted as I am new to growing vegetables.

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Many thanks,
Wendy M. from Hervey Bay, Australia

Answer:

I'm wondering if your tomatoes are cracking and splitting and then becoming infested with some type of grub, or if the grub is causing the fruit to split. In either case, yellowing leaves are a sign of stress.

I'll describe some solutions for both cracks and grubs/worms and leave it up to you to try to determine exactly what is going on.

Dealing With Cracks

Cracks that circle the stem end of ripening fruits or start at the stem end and run down the side, usually appear after a sudden growth spurt caused by an increase in soil moisture after a period where the plant has been too dry. Sometimes after cracks appear, insects can move in. In most cases, working to keep soil moisture levels as even as possible will prevent this. If droughts are common in your area, look for "crack-resistant" varieties to plant.

Dealing With Grubs

There are several types of caterpillars, worms or grubs that can attack tomato fruits. Tomato fruitworms are one of the most common. Signs include small holes on the surface of the fruit. The larvae of the fruitworm (also called corn earworm) are light yellow, green, pink or brown, with long spines and a lengthwise stripe. Adult moths lay eggs on the leaves of the plants or in the soil around it. The eggs hatch and once the larvae burrow inside the ripe fruit, they feed on it.

Eventually it becomes rotted and hollow and collapses like a deflated balloon. Handpicking adult caterpillars and covering your plants with netting or floating row covers to prevent adult moths from laying eggs will help prevent infestations.

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.

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October 2, 20060 found this helpful

If you are a smoker, that could be the reason the leaves of your tomatoe plants are yellow.

Even a little nicotine on the plants could harm them. Use gloves, or wash your hands well before handling the plants and don't smoke around them in the garden. I had real bad luck with tomatoes when I was smoking, and absolutely none after I quit.

There may be a little too much water if they are splitting, and the grubs can be getting in there, then. I also plant an onion bulb and a marigold with each tomato plant, which keeps lots of bugs away. I use "Seven" on my plants when bugs do find them. Perhaps there is the equivilant to that in Australia. I don't use much of anything if I can help it, and that is the least harmful to mammals. Hope this helps.

Once I heard that the ultimate act of faith is to plant a seed. Good luck and God bless.

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February 12, 20170 found this helpful

It would take much, much more nicotine than the small residue left on a couple of fingers to affect a ripening tomato. My grandparents farmed all of their lives, both dipped snuff and they had the most beautiful garden you've ever seen, tomatoes included. It's far more likely that it's a combination of getting too dry then too wet, too much direct sun when the plants are young and tender, and/or poor soil conditions. Tomatoes love fertile soil.

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