Preventing Grubs From Eating Tomatoes?

A hornworm pest to tomatoes.
Grubs can attack tomatoes as the result of two situations. They may be the larvae of moths or could be entering fruit that has split from excess moisture. Differing solutions exist for each cause. This is a page about preventing grubs from eating tomatoes.

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December 22, 2019

How do I stop grubs from attacking my tomatoes while they are growing on the vine?


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,298 Posts
December 22, 20190 found this helpful
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You could try making a homemade spray - combination of water, garlic and dish soap and spray on the leaves of the plants.

For my apple tree, I used combination of water and dish soap. But the article above recommended garlic.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
December 22, 20190 found this helpful
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I used to hand pick them off and dispose of them. It was time consuming, but I am anti chemical. One-year I used dawn in hot water and washed them off.


That seemed to work, but I was nervous about the run off, so I went back to hand picking. Wear gloves!! Big ick not to!

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
December 23, 20190 found this helpful
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To keep them out of the garden you can take a pie tin and place cut cucumbers and place them on the tin. The smell will keep them out of the garden. Also you can take all your old eggshells and crush them and put them around the trees. I have even dug holes in the yard close to my plants and put in plastic glasses and put beer in them. They seem to love the smell and go inside and are killed. Other than this you should hand pick them off your plants.

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January 11, 2007


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.

Many thanks,
Wendy M. from Hervey Bay, Australia


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.



By Margie Minard (Guest Post)
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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March 19, 20190 found this helpful

When I worked for an organic farmer, he did not let his tobacco smoking workers near his tomatoes. I worked on transplanting hundreds of them since I did not smoke! So I beg to differ.

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