If you garden, you likely know that there are numerous pests that can eat away at your plants and the vegetables, fruits, or herbs they produce. One of the pests that can cause a lot of damage is the tomato worm, also called a horn worm. This pest, which looks like a fat, green caterpillar, can eat away at the leaves of plants and the edible portions of the plants. And due to their color, they blend in well and are hard to spot. While there are many chemicals or pesticides you can spray to kill these pests, you may want to avoid spraying these items on fruits and vegetables you want to eat. Here are a few ways to kill or keep the tomato worms out of your garden without the use of pesticides.
One of the easiest way to curtail pests that can attack plants in your garden is to spray the plant with soapy water. Soapy water can help to kill a variety of these pests including tomato worms, aphids, spiders, stink bugs, and white flies. Simply mix one to three teaspoons of liquid dish soap to a gallon of water. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and spray both the tops and bottoms of the leaves that are being attacked. Reapply this mixture every three days or after it rains for best results.
Remove Them By Hand
One of the most effective ways to keep tomato worms out of your garden is to simply remove them by hand. This can be time consuming, but it is effective at getting these pests off your plants. Examine your plants two times per day. As you do, look for signs of the tomato worm. Be sure to check along the stalks of your plants and under the leaves. If you find any of them, place them in a cup or bowl of warm water with liquid dish soap to kill them. Repeat this process until you stop finding the pests. The larvae for these pests is laid in the winter, so once they are removed from your garden, it is unlikely another infestation will sprout up.
The last tip for removing tomato worms from your garden and keeping them away is to spray your plants with a cayenne pepper spray. Tomato worms hate the scent, and it is believed the pepper may burn their skin a bit, making them uncomfortable. This helps to keep them off of your plants. Boil one quart of water on the stove and then add in either two teaspoons of cayenne pepper or 1/2 cup of hot peppers. Allow it to soak until the water cools. Strain the water to remove the pepper remnants. Add in 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap and put in a spray bottle. Then spray the plants that are being attacked every other day.
Removing the tomato worms by hand, using a cayenne pepper spray or spraying them with dish soap can all help to keep these pests out of your garden. However, if you have a bad infestation, you may need more help than these remedies provide. A pest control service can help you rid these pests from your garden for good, allowing you, not the tomato worm, to eat the fruits of your labor.