something is eating my tomatoes

Asked September 19, 2018, 3:38 PM EDT

About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that the tomatoes that were ripening had small bites - about the size of a dime. they were high up on the plants so I doubt that it is from a rabbit or squirrel. the bites are too small for a deer and I have the plants covered with a deer net. as times goes on, they are being eaten every day (probably at night) even the green ones. I am assuming they are from birds. What do you think? Any ideas on how to prevent the tomatoes from being eaten?

Dakota County Minnesota wildlife damage management horticulture tomatoes

1 Response

Without seeing any pictures of the damage, it is hard to say what is causing it. My first thought is voles, as they are known to cause this type of damage, instead of birds. When inspecting the tomatoes, a clue to what is causing the problem can be determined with how the bite looks. Bird damage is going to look like something has been poking the tomato (think of a nail being repeatedly pushed into it) while rodent damage will be much more like an actual bite (starting on the outside and working in). Determine if the damage is happening throughout the garden or just on the edges. Throughout points to mice or voles while just on the outside could be woodchucks. Another clue for the culprit would be with the time the damage is occurring. Bird damage will be occurring during daylight while rodent damage can occur during the day or night.

In terms of prevention, the first step is identifying the culprit. If it is birds, then raising the net above the plants will stop the damage provided the birds cannot bet through it. However, if the problem is more "rodent" in nature, then you may have to look at a trapping program to resolve it.