How to get rid of caterpillars on tomatoes: processing methods using drugs and folk remedies
Pests can cause significant damage to tomato beds and reduce or even reduce crop yields. Tomatoes are often damaged by caterpillars that eat not only the foliage of this plant, but also the fruits themselves. Consider which caterpillars can be found on tomatoes, how to detect and destroy them in time, and what measures can be taken to prevent their appearance.
What caterpillars eat tomatoes
In our climatic conditions, two species of butterflies and their larvae, whiteflies and scoops, can parasitize on tomatoes. They affect not only tomatoes, but also other vegetables growing in the garden.
They can often be found in a greenhouse or in the open ground of the southern regions. Whiteflies have a very small size - 1.5–3 mm, a whitish body and wings. First, they settle in a whole flock on the lower part of the foliage and suck juices from it; in this case, the sheet is covered with white coating, then blackens, curls and dries. This scourge also passes to the fruits of tomatoes, inside of which lesions of white color appear. Each female lays about two hundred eggs at the place of her residence and food, from which subtle larvae appear. They also eat the juice from where they appeared on the plant, and grow into an adult insect in just 40 days. Under favorable conditions, whitefly butterflies can give 10 generations in just one year. The development and reproduction of this pest is best at temperatures of 20–30 ° C and at humidity up to 80%. At temperatures below 10 ° C, their activity decreases sharply, and the reproduction of offspring stops. The excretion of this pest is a breeding ground for fungal diseases of vegetables.
These are ordinary-looking night butterflies with a span of gray-brown wings of 25–45 mm. They feed on nectar of flowers and lay their eggs on leaves, inflorescences and fruits of tomatoes. The butterfly lives from 2 weeks to a month, but manages to lay from 500 to 1000 eggs, of which after 2-12 days green caterpillars appear (they can have not only green color, but also darker tones, to black). They actively eat all the parts of the plant on which they appeared. The caterpillar phase lasts 40 days, and they grow up to 5 cm long, then pupate underground.
Did you know? The scoop family has 11,772 species of butterflies, but not all of them are pests. Our tomatoes sharpen cotton, winter, tomato, garden and potato scoops.
Our scoop manages to go through two development cycles in a season. Most often, caterpillars eat flowers and an ovary of tomatoes, which causes considerable damage to the crop. Butterflies of the second generation lay their eggs on the fruits, and their offspring gnaws at them, which makes tomatoes unsuitable for consumption. Some varieties bite or eat even the stem of the plant.
Signs of the appearance of caterpillars
If whiteflies are found on tomatoes, the following can be observed:
- spots of white, yellowish and black color on leaves and fruits;
- withering and twisting of foliage;
- if you shake the plant or look under the leaf, you can find a flock of small white-winged midges;
- poor ripening of fruits;
- when the tomato is cut, white veins are visible inside.
The scoop caterpillars are easy to see with the naked eye, but the butterflies and their larvae are active at night. The following main signs of their appearance are noticeable:
- gnawed ovary and buds;
- holes on the foliage;
- damaged fruits.
The factors that led to the emergence of caterpillars on your tomatoes may be as follows:
- flowering weeds near the beds with tomatoes. Flowering plants attract butterflies that lay their eggs on them and next to them;
- crowded landings. In thickened beds it is difficult to detect pests in time. In addition, such a large number of plants arouses their interest and helps to easily move from one crop to another;
- whiteflies are attracted by the warm rooms of greenhouses, into which it flies through unprotected openings for entry-exit and airing;
- lack of preventative spraying;
- poorly dug or not dug area. Pupae of these pests spend the winter in the soil, digging which destroys them.
How to process tomatoes from caterpillars
To get rid of pests that attacked tomatoes, use various methods. Consider the most famous chemical and folk remedies against caterpillars. The latter is easy to cook at home. In addition, during the ripening period of the fruits, it is better to use biological preparations so that chemicals do not enter the food.
Important! Whiteflies develop immunity against certain chemicals, so chemicals should be changed periodically.
Chemical agents are an effective tool for processing tomato bushes against caterpillars. When using them, it should be borne in mind that harmful pesticides are removed from plants after 20-30 days, therefore, it is necessary to deal with caterpillars on tomatoes with insecticides a month before harvesting. The most popular drugs are:
Before using chemicals against caterpillars, you should definitely study the instructions and adhere to all proportions and recommendations.
Folk remedies are used when such pests have just appeared in the garden, or when the fruits are ripe and poison cannot be used. In case of severe defeat, chemical preparations must be exterminated for the overgrown caterpillars.
Did you know? The smell of marigolds planted near tomatoes, mint, calendula, will scare away pests.
For scaring away a scoop from plant crops, spraying with garlic infusion helps well. Recipe:
- One head or a bunch of arrows of garlic is finely cut or rubbed on a grater, and then pour a liter of boiling water.
- Hold for three days, then filter through cheesecloth and dilute in a bucket of water.
- 1/3 of a standard piece of laundry soap, which is previously rubbed on a grater, is added to the garlic solution. This will make the solution sticky so that it stays well on the tomato.
An excellent remedy against caterpillars is the infusion of tobacco. Recipe:
- A portion of 300 g of tobacco dust is placed in a bucket and poured with boiling water.
- Withstand 24 hours.
- Then add laundry soap in liquid form (1/3 of the bar).
A decoction of wormwood helps well in the fight against caterpillars. Recipe: 1/3 of a bucket with fresh grass of wormwood is poured with water and simmered over low heat for 30 minutes, after which it is insisted for two days. Then the broth is filtered through a sieve, diluted with water in a ratio of 1 to 10. The resulting solution is sprayed.
A good result in the fight against caterpillars is a normal saline solution. Recipe: 400 g of rock salt is stirred until completely dissolved in 5 liters of water - with this solution and sprayed. 50 g of laundry soap in liquid form can be added to the saline solution, since it improves the adhesion of the product to tomatoes.
Important! Try to spatter and on the back of the leaves, as well as in the lower part, and not just on top.
Dry mustard solution
It helps to treat plantings for this misfortune by spraying with a solution of mustard. Recipe: 100 g of dry mustard powder is diluted in a bucket of boiling water and insisted for 2 days.You can also plant white mustard in early spring. When the plant sprouts, they dig up the area and plant seedlings or tomato seeds - this will also scare off the scoop.
To protect tomatoes from caterpillars, the following preventive measures should be applied:
- dig the earth for the winter, as the larvae of butterflies winter in the ground. Clods of soil should not be broken. If there are a lot of pests, then the top layer of the earth is removed by 15 cm and a replacement is made;
- in the spring, planting areas to plant with boiling water or a solution of manganese;
- be sure to clean the site of weeds, especially if they bloom and attract butterflies;
- plant crops are not very dense;
- water tomatoes only at the root, it is better in the morning;
- protect the openings in the greenhouse with a fine mesh;
- while laying eggs deeply loosen the soil between rows;
- In the summer, use traps to catch butterflies. For example, containers with water and the addition of jam and beer;
- carry out timely spraying of tomatoes that were attacked by caterpillars;
- apply for combating the scoops of their natural enemy in nature - the predator trichogram. During the laying period, trichogram release 3 times from the calculation: 5 thousand of such predators per 1 ha;
- apply biological products ("Lepidocide", "Bitoxibacillin"). If necessary, these drugs are reused after a week;
- use insecticides;
- to remove the remains of plants in the fall;
- carry out watering in the winter. Watering in cold weather helps to destroy pests that are at the pupal stage in the soil.