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Growing tomatoes - what pests attack tomato plants?

Growing Tomatoes?

It is very satisfying but pests ♥️ tomato plants. The tomato guru of Instagram herself, @saltandtomatoes gave me her top pests to watch out for;⁠

🍅⁠ During the seedling stage - Fungus Gnats (Sciarid Fly)⁠
🍅 Aphids when grown under glass or in a tunnel⁠
🍅 Red Spider Mites - they love a hot environment, pruning helps massively⁠

She totally agrees that prevention is better than cure and being clean and tidy really helps. If you had a pest last year it is very likely to come back this year so you could get your predators in place before you have a problem.⁠

Pest control for tomato plant loving pests

Fungus Gnats, Sciarid Fly

These are brownish in colour & 3-4mm long they crawl and slowly fly around, you may have mistaken them for fruit flies in the past. In their larval stage they are slim white maggots that can be up to 6mm long. 

Sciarid Fly thrive in warm moist conditions where the larvae feast on the roots of your plants.  The best combination of treatments if Fruit and Veg nematodes and yellow sticky traps.  Shop now

Aphids

There are many types of aphid (often called greenfly or blackfly) but luckily you don't need to be able to identify them to be able to treat them.  At the first sign of aphids reach for the soft soap or SB Plant Invigorator and then browse tavailableble predators to select a suitable aphid eater.  Browse Aphid Controls.

Red Spider Mite

One of the main reasons that spider mites are a fan of tomato plants is that they are often kept in really warm conditions.  Spider mite love hot dry greenhouses so keep your plants well misted and open some vents.  At the first sign or spider mites you can introduce the Andersoni sachets.  You can use these as a preventative measure is spider mites have been a problem for you in the past.

If you start to see webbing then the plants are infected and you need to go for the stronger control.  Find out more about spider mites and their treatments here.

Whitefly

Although not mentioned in the top 3 many growers would put whitefly up there.  Again this is partly due to the pests's love of greenhouses but they are quite common on tomato plants.  If you have whitefly you will notice small white moth like creatures that swarm into a cloud when disturbed.  Browse Whitefly Controls.

Personally I find that the slugs eat all my tomatoes given half a chance, reduce slug numbers with Nemaslug.

If you have any pest question that you can't find help with, just ask!  Email plantcare@ladybirdplantcare.co.uk

 

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