Tomato worms (Manduca quinquemaculata), sometimes known as tomato hornworms, are capable of swiftly destroying an otherwise healthy crop of tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum). The green bodies of these worms are adorned with white V-shaped markings that run down the sides, and they have a large “horn” developing at the back of their bodies. You can recognise these worms by their appearance. If you do not take measures to eliminate or avoid these pests, they may eat the leaves off of your tomato plants and even feast on the tomatoes itself if you do not stop them. If you want to keep your tomato harvest safe, you should think about utilising an organic technique of pest management to get rid of tomato worms before they become an issue.
Handpicking could be enough to get rid of tomato worms if you just have one tomato plant or if there are only a few of them that need to be dealt with. To manage tomato worms using this natural technique, you only need to walk over the tomato plant by hand and pluck off the worms as you discover them. This is all that is required. To ensure that you don’t miss any tomato worms, carefully examine the plant in a systematic manner, paying special attention to the stems and the backs of the leaves. As you catch the worms, kill them by dropping them one at a time into a can of water that has liquid dish detergent added to it.
Bacillus thuringiensis, most often referred to as Bt, is a bacterium that causes a disease that is fatal to tomato worms. This illness is commonly offered as a biological control organism. These bacteria are the active component of some pesticides; however, they may also be used on their own to eradicate tomato worms without causing damage to beneficial insects or placing other species in jeopardy. Bt works by creating proteins that paralyse the digestive tract of tomato worms, stopping the worms from eating. Worms that have been infected with Bt normally die of hunger within a few days after being infected. The most significant drawback connected with this kind of therapy is that it is vulnerable to deterioration caused by the sun, and foliar sprays often do not continue to be effective for more than seven days.
Rototilling the soil in your garden may not have much of an effect on the number of tomato worms damaging your tomato plants in the current year, but it might help avoid an infestation in the next year by breaking up any clumps of dirt that could harbour the worms. Pupae of tomato worms often live in the soil underneath tomato plants, where they remain dormant throughout the fall and winter months until emerging in the spring. Rototilling the soil in your garden may be an efficient method for eliminating up to 90 percent of the pupae that are present in the soil. This is due to the fact that the pupae have a tendency to be rather big and are not often buried very deeply in the soil. Applying this technique as soon as possible after picking your tomatoes will provide the greatest possible outcomes.
In many cases, Mother Nature will take care of tomato hornworms by bringing in reinforcements in the form of lady beetles, green lacewings, and braconid wasps, in addition to the common wasp. This will help keep the population of tomato hornworms under control (Polistes spp.). Lady beetles and green lacewings provide a solution to the issue by feeding on the young hornworms while they are in the egg or larval stage. Once the worms have matured into caterpillars, braconid wasps will deposit their eggs on them. These eggs will hatch into wasps that will feed on the caterpillar as it grows. If you find hornworms that are coated with white egg masses, there is no need to remove the caterpillar since the wasp larvae are already taking care of the problem on their own. Wasps that are more common both kill and feed on tomato hornworms.