New (for me) Tomato Worm

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

While I was inspecting my tomatoes this morning, I found several leaves with holes in them. Turning over the leaf, I found these little guys. The largest one is about 3/4 of a inch long. I started picking them off. The chickens love them. But I have just too many tomato plants to go through all of them. Then, I started finding damage to the young Roma tomatoes, so they aren't just eating the leaves, but the fruit as well.

In doing some research on tomato bugs, I came across this:, for Tomato Cutworms. It look like the closest thing I've found. It says they overwinter in the soil. I grow my toms in earthboxes, and this year, I did use the same soil as last year.

I've got to do some spraying for them. The article from ucdavis mentions the use of METHOMYL* (Lannate) 90SP for when the worms are feeding on leaves & fruit. I'm not a strictly organic gardener (hard to be in hot humid New Orleans), but I'd really prefer something less toxic. Do you think BT would work. Or some other organic control? I need to do something today before all my fruit is gone.


Thumbnail by jomoncon Thumbnail by jomoncon Thumbnail by jomoncon
Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Bt should work - just be sure to purchase the one that kills caterpillars.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Great picture of some nasty caterpillers, there!

Brady, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, there's entirely too many and they each seem to need a different control method (unless you're willing to pick 'em) --- course my problem has been that I see the damage on the plants but not the culprits! Even tried to kill a blossom that was kinda weird looking....

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Here, here. No tomatoes this year but I was decimated by those creeps the year I had good tomato plants! For now I am watching and learning ....and sympathizing!

Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

Cutworms/Armyworms usually show up in large amounts. Like Bee suggested....BT works wonders, but you'll need to spray every few days if there's a lot of them. BT is something every Tomato Grower needs in his/her arsenal. Very safe and very effective.

Thumbnail by Ray_Der_Phan
Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

As an alternative, I really like general purpose insecticides that have pyrethrin as the active ingredient. Pyrethrin is refined from chrysanthemum roots, it's the mum's natural defense against insects, and that's organic enough for me.

As I've mentioned here before, I think of pyrethrin as a "liquid flyswatter". It's a contact insecticide only - any bug it touches while it's wet dies, but once it dries even same-day harvest of food crops is OK. I think it would work real well on those caterpillars.

Omaha, NE(Zone 5b)

I had cutworms a couple seasons back that hitched a ride in the compost.

But this year, it's Army worms. I haven't determined yet whether they're the "regular" Army worm or the fall Army worm. A nuisance, either way.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

So many people,all over, are having trouble with Armyworms that's strange

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I think it was the warm winter that didn't kill off a lot of the sleepers that are now creeping...

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Plus for some reason, every so many years they just multiply en masse, there are 3 types cutworms/ armyworms- one stays undergnd and one climbs, all sites suggest no nonsense defense( used to be malathion) all things considered, I don't really think it matters which specific var of moth is the one that is trying to eat the USA right now- I suspect they are all out there this spring

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

But they arent the same thing. I have a 25 pg print out from A&M Variegated cut worms climb. I found one in the house (near the snail and the scorpion) at the top of a pepper plant. Now I know where those leaves went lol. I also found one on a tomato plant on the back deck. it was one a Market Plant, I got him before he ate too much. Still wondering how it got up the stairs. The large toad sitting in the 3" pot really took me by surprise.

According to my info from A&M and Im not sure if this info is just for TX or Nationwide but there are 4 types of Armyworms and they are considered Chewing insects followed by various borers and webworms. There are 3 types of Cutworms and they are considered Soil insects followed by Wireworms, various maggots, and Corn Rootworms.

I think Ill stay in the least until the temps go down. At least I havent found near as many snails since its hasnt rained, Id rather have the rain tho.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

No, not same thing, just all moths. Miller moths, flannel moths, paper moths, etc, none good for anything unless it is to eat the world, didn't we do this on several other threads? They and pine beetles give me the creeps cuz there are so many you can hear em eating, crunch, crunch, crunch, and it is said when they run out of food- they come after our homes and food - won't stay outside at all. To me that means war.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch...on that note Im going to bed, hope I dont have nightmares. LOL kittriana!

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

Quote from 1lisac :
Crunch, Crunch, Crunch...on that note Im going to bed, hope I dont have nightmares. LOL kittriana!

Luckily, I didn't read this until morning!

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Chuckl, I'm waiting to go deaf so those sounds won't put me in full war mode, those worms/bugs will send the hackles on my neck to standing- and they keep getting rid of the only poisons that work on em. Even the Mississippi delta is having problems with them this year- and those planes are dusting constantly.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

What was I doing up so late? It was 2 am here. Now I know why I feel hung over and I dont drink. I dont think Ive ever heard that sound and Ive had Armyworms...but my kids were little then. The only thing I heard was MOMMY.

My mom started to lose her hearing when she was young 30s-40s, but she says its the only reason shes been married 65yrs. If you ask her how she's stayed married so long she will look at you with a straight face and say "because Im hard of hearing" you should see the look that my dad gives her. He always remarks (at 88 yrs old) "well. Im not".

Kittriana-Can you start a thread or is there a thread that says where you are? I think it would be kind of fun. You see so much.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

I understand what your granddad is telling her, chuckle. My life is so totally boring! I see concrete and guests and Never know where I will be parked- tho my dispatcher thinks he does, and thinks I do, shhhh, we let those dogs sleep.I will consider doing that, but you guys are what keep me ooh and ahhs And wake up dusty memories!

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