The Q&A Archives: Pinworms in Tomatoes

Question: For the past several years we have had small worms in out tomatoes. These worms which are about 1/4" long enter the tomato through the stem end. They remain in the core of the tomato for some time then they move to the leaves where they spin a web in the leaves (the leaf is curled around the worm). After this stage they become a small brown fly which then starts the cycle all over again. These are NOT tomato fruitworms. They do not do alot of damage to the main part of the tomato - just the core. Do you know what they are and what to do to control them?

Answer: It sounds like tomato pinworms. These insects are mostly a problem in California and the South. They are difficult to control, because they spend so much of their time hidden and protected from sprays. As soon as you see signs of the insect, spray with B.t., a biological control, every three to five days until the infestation is under control.

Here is a site describing the insect's life cycle.

This site further describes this pest problem.

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