Tomato Caterpillar: How to Identify and Control These Pest


The tomato caterpillar is a pest that can do a lot of harm to your tomato plants. You need to understand how to get rid of it. Tomato caterpillars, which are also called tomato hornworms, can wipe out an entire crop of tomatoes if they are not found and stopped.

In this article, I will talk about how to find and get rid of tomato caterpillars. So you can protect your tomatoes and keep them producing healthy fruit.

What are tomato caterpillars?

tomato caterpillars

I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be to find tomato caterpillars in your garden. These pesky critters can cause significant damage to tomato plants, ruining not only the appearance but also the yield of your crop.

I’ve seen many gardeners struggle to figure out what these pests are and how to get rid of them. And they often end up using ineffective methods that make the problem worse.

In my experience, it’s crucial to stay keen-eyed and inspect your tomato plants for signs of caterpillars or worms that eat tomato plants. You need to learn how to spot these pests and take action right away to keep their numbers down.

It can be scary to see green worms on tomato plants or tiny black specks of frass that these insects leave behind. But it’s important to stay calm and take steps to get rid of them.

As an experienced gardener, I have found that hand picking, using traps, organic pesticides, and biological controls are all effective ways to manage and control tomato caterpillars. by taking the necessary steps to protect your tomato plants from these pests. You can enjoy a bountiful harvest and take pride in your beautiful and healthy garden.

Where do tomato caterpillars come from?

The larvae of moths, beetles, and butterflies are what turn into tomato caterpillars. They live on tomato plants. However, they can also live on your other fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and tobacco, as well as other plants.

According to my research, the larvae of the tomato hornworm and the tobacco hornworm are the most common types of tomato caterpillars. The black and white spots on these caterpillars, which are also called “worms on tomato plants,” make them easy to spot.

Caterpillars like the tomato fruit worm, cabbage looper, and tomato leafminer can also be found on tomato plants. These caterpillars eat the leaves of tomatoes and may also do some small damage to the fruits.

The tomato fruit worm is green with white stripes, and the cabbage looper is a brown caterpillar that can grow up to 2 inches long and lives on tomato plants. The tomato leafminer is a small black caterpillar that lives on tomato plants and makes tunnels in the leaves.

  • The green tomato moth caterpillar has a black head and is a pest which eats tomatoes.
  • These caterpillars eat tomato plants and can dig tunnels in the stems and leaves of tomatoes and other plants in the Solanaceae family.
  • On tomato plants, you may also find black caterpillars, which are likely from the black cutworm species.

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What do caterpillars look like?

  • Caterpillars that eat tomato plants are usually green or brown, but some species can be black or yellow.
  • They can range in length from 1/4 inch to a maximum of 2 inches.
  • Common caterpillars that eat tomatoes include the tomato moth caterpillar, brown caterpillar, and black caterpillar.
  • Some caterpillars have stripes or spots, while others have short hairs or spines.
  • Many caterpillars have narrow heads and bodies, and their long legs stick out from the sides.
  • Look for green worms, caterpillars, black caterpillars, and worms that eat tomato plants.
  • If your tomato plants show any of these signs, it’s likely that caterpillars are present and eating the plants.

What damage do tomato caterpillars cause?

tomato caterpillars

Tomato caterpillars are a serious threat to the health and growth of tomato plants, and any gardener can feel discouraged when they show up. As someone who has dealt with these pests firsthand, I know how frustrating it can be to see your beloved plants devoured by these hungry little creatures. Watching as they munch their way through the leaves, stems, and even the fruit of your tomato plant can leave you feeling powerless and defeated.

And it’s not just the visible damage that these caterpillars cause. Their droppings, known as “frass,” are a telltale sign of their presence and can be a real eyesore. As a gardener, it’s important to stay vigilant and keep an eye out for any signs of infestation. Regular inspections can help catch these pests early, before they have a chance to wreak havoc on your plants and potentially cause significant crop losses.

But don’t worry, there are ways to fight back against these tomato plant predators. Whether it’s through manual removal, traps, natural pesticides, or biological controls, there are a variety of methods available to help keep these pests at bay. With some patience and a good plan, you can keep pests away from your tomato plants and make sure you get a good harvest.

How can you get rid of tomato caterpillars?

Getting rid of tomato caterpillars can be hard, but there are several ways to do it.

  • Manual Removal: The easiest and most effective way to get rid of tomato caterpillars is to take them off by hand. Search for tomato plant caterpillars, worms on tomato plants, or any other kind of caterpillar damaging your plants. Extract them from the plant and dispose of them in a sealed container.
  • Traps: Placing traps near the infected plants can also help in controlling the population of tomato caterpillars. Sticky traps or yellow sticky cards can capture adult moths and their eggs.
  • Natural Pesticides: If you can’t get rid of pests by hand, you can use natural pesticides like neem oil. The natural chemicals in these things can kill or scare away caterpillars without harming the plants.
  • Biological Controls: Biological controls are another alternative to managing the population of tomato caterpillars. Parasitic wasps lay their eggs inside the bodies of caterpillars like the tomato moth caterpillar.


I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to see your hard work destroyed by pesky tomato caterpillars. These tiny but harmful bugs can turn a healthy tomato plant into a wilted mess. It’s important to stay vigilant and keep a close eye on your plants, as these caterpillars can be hard to spot at first.

But with a trained eye, you can identify them by their distinctive green or black colour and the telltale spots that cover their bodies. Don’t let these pests take over your garden! To keep them in check, you can either remove them by hand or bring in natural predators. With a little effort and perseverance, you can keep your tomato plants healthy and thriving all season.

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