What is the tomato caterpillar?

The tomato caterpillar corresponds to one of the most incisive tomato pests on agricultural plantations. It is integrated into the so-called “noctuidae”, that is, that its action takes place during the night hours, especially in the case of insects in their adult phase.

Its ability to adapt favors the fact that this caterpillar can be located in all kinds of tomato plantations, both in traditional orchards and in other high altitude ones. The eggs are deposited in the plant, and from them the larvae will emerge, which end up biting the leaves of the tomato plants and eating a large part of it, to continue with the fruit.

These types of insects are known as “miners”, that is, they make galleries in the plants and especially in the fruits as they feed . The black dots that we see on some fruits are the entrance hole of the caterpillar. The fruit will end up withering and rotting.

In the life cycle of the tomato caterpillar, it is necessary to differentiate the caterpillar itself , the early phase of the pest, and the most dangerous, and on the other hand the moth. The moth is the adult phase of the pest, which does not cause direct damage but does indirectly. It is said that a female moth is capable of depositing more than 250 eggs on the plant, from which 250 hungry caterpillars can hatch.

What are the treatment and control methods?

  • Among the measures to be adopted is the suppression of weeds and the cleaning of the cultivation area.
  • It is essential to detect the first signs of the plague in time and remedy it as soon as possible . If the infestation spreads too far, the entire crop can be spoiled. They can normally be seen on the underside of the leaves , but they are not easy to spot because of their deep green color.
  • When the caterpillar population is adult, it is necessary to use pheromone traps to detect them.
  • Once all possible caterpillars have been located, we will remove them manually. If the plague has already spread, it is necessary to use caterpillar control insecticide spary. For ecological solutions, we will use Pyrethrins, Bacillus thuringiensis commercial products, etc. The latter is a powerful biological insecticide that is capable of eliminating caterpillar larvae. It is not toxic to domestic animals or to people.
  • In the case of moths , the most advanced stage of this pest, the most effective treatment may be neem oil , to which the moth is highly sensitive.
  • At the end of the agricultural cycles, the growing area must not be abandoned. It is positive to carry out crop rotations, remove and destroy the remains of agricultural work, pruning, etc.
  • In the case of greenhouses, it is necessary to cover the entrances and all kinds of holes with mesh, doors, double doors, etc.
  • The fruits affected by the pest must be destroyed to avoid contagion to other areas of the plantation, to neighboring plantations, etc.

Know the important guidelines to combat the tomato caterpillar

When the pest has already been located and there are caterpillars on the tomato plants, it is necessary to follow some basic recommendations:

  • Do not carry out aggressive treatments indiscriminately that could alter the biological balance of the cultivated area.
  • The products used will be those specifically developed for this pest , such as Bacillus thuringiensis and others recommended by the Pest Protection Service.
  • Even if these specific products are used , excessive use of them could negatively affect their effectiveness.


To eliminate this type of pest, it is necessary to fumigate with: Beauveria Bassiana spray. It is a biological insecticide treatment (it is a bacterium) that eliminates tomato caterpillar larvae. It is an ecological product, perfect for organic farms or orchards, and it is not harmful to beneficial insects or animals, nor is it toxic to humans. By applying this product, the moth larvae will be eliminated and the tomato plant will recover its appearance and ability to produce fruit.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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