Unidentified Pest Destroying our Garden

Omaha, NE

We have started a garden this year on our second story balcony. Our tomato plants were finally taking off and then something chomped a couple down. The damage started on the new growth up top on them and now they have been completely chomped. There is only about an inch of stalk left. Also the pepper plants are being attacked now as well as the dill and a few basil plants. Just noticed the cucumber is also being chomped. There are no holes in the leaves just the leaves and stems being cleanly chomped off. I found one cutworm on the dill a few days ago, as well as a small green caterpillar on the tomato plant. I killed both and have not seen anything else since. I have been checking at night and during the day, and have seen no culprits since the caterpillars. I am on the second story of a house and am growing in homemade containers. I was thinking maybe squirrels or birds? No slugs have been seen, and I have been checking after dark religiously. We are located in Omaha, Nebraska. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

A net would keep out birds and squirrels.
Constantly checking for 'bugs' that do their damage in the night is a good thing. Female moths, butterflies and beetles certainly can fly to your second story balcony to lay their eggs. these hatch into grubs and caterpillars that can be voracious.
Slugs can climb, but 2 stories is a bit much unless there is something like ivy clinging to the wall to protect them in their mountaineering trek.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Sounds like the work of a hornworm or some kind of worm. Do you see little black balls of poop on the ground or on any of the remaining leaves? Look on the underside of leaves and stems for the offender above those piles of poop. You can spray with Bt to get rid of worms.

How tall are these plants? Maybe they're being decimated by snails and pill bugs.

Omaha, NE

Thanks for the reply! I will definitely look into getting some netting. Last night I caught 4 cutworms in the act. However, none of them were on the tomatoes, they were all on collards or beet greens. Thought I had my victory but i woke up and sure enough all 3 of my pepper plants were almost completely destroyed as well as more of my poor tomatoes! Here are some photos of the damage:

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Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Since they're babies, I'm going to go with snails, slugs or pill bugs. Sprinkle some Sluggo Plus around the plants and see if that helps.

You can place straws around the stalk of the plant to help deter the cutworms.

Omaha, NE

They are about a 10 inches tall or so. The peppers were about 5 inches tall. here is a couple more photos, one of which is the dill:

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Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Cutworms for the ones cut off at the stalk. Pill bugs for the others possibly. It could be a combination of things.

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