The Q&A Archives: bug or critter?

Question: I have a small garden. 3 tomatoes one tomato plant had the top leaves gone one morning so I dusted it with seven dust the next morning all the leaves were gone. I had dusted the other 2 plants also but the new growth was gone the next morning. Next I tried 1 tsp of soap 1 tsp of hot sauce in 1 quart of h2o. Next morning still had top leaves gone what is eating the tops of my plants?not eating all

Answer: If you are sure there are no deer around, the culprits may be tomato hornworms. These large caterpillars are the same color as the tomato leaves so even though they are large, they can be hard to see. Look for frass (bug poop) on the tops of the lower leaves or on the top of the soil. If you find any, you're dealing with caterpillars. They can defoliate an entire plant in a single day. Handpick the critters or use Bt (bacillus thuringensis) sold as Dipel. Bt will control caterpillars. Be sure to apply according to label directions. Best wishes with your tomato plants!

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