First time gardener

Asked May 12, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT

Ive been having lots of problems with pest in my garden. Ive had issues with cabbage loopers, cucumber beetles, slugs and now my tomatos's have very large holes in their tops before they ripen. I have sprayed the garden with Bt and also spinosad. What is causing these large holes ? Do you recommend any treatment plans ie- spray weekly with ....... or do I just continue treating problems as they come up? Should I pick the tomatoes green? I am trying to stay organic, but other gardeners suggest treating the entire garden with Sevin even if it kills beneficial bugs. Any insight on how to pre-treat or prevent pest would be helpful. Thank you.

Harris County Texas

1 Response

Your tomatoes to have been attacked by the tomato fruitworm although several other caterpillars can attack tomatoes. This caterpillar and others can be controlled by B.t., Spinosad, Sevin or other insecticides labeled for use on tomatoes. They key is to get the product on the plants before the pest does its damage. As a general guide you should start a weekly application of one of the above product when the first fruit reach about 1" in diameter and make sure to provide good coverage of the tomato plants. Often these can tend to come and go through the season but if you have this problem annually then some preventative sprays may be advisable. These pests have natural enemies which can help in minimizing the damage to your tomatoes if they are not killed by indiscriminate use of broad spectrum insecticides in your garden.