How To Control Caterpillars On Tomato Plants Without Harming Honey Bees?

Filed Under: Insects, Vegetables, Food Gardens · Keywords: Control, Hornworm, Caterpillars, Tomato, Plants · 1917 Views
What can I use to control tomato catipillars that will not harm honey bees?

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Answer #2 ·'s Answer · I'm in agreement with John, best way to control hornworms/caterpillars on tomato plants is by picking them off. I try not to use chemicals, even organic ones, unless absolutely necessary.)

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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi June-The best way to control or kill the caterpillar is to pick them off by hand. Then drop them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them. If you must spray there are a few organic insecticides that will control the caterpillar if they become out of control. The most recommended here in Gardenality and else where is Neem Oil. It is safe to use on all plants and vegetables. It is not a knock down, kill-on-contact insecticide like the chemical poisons. Neem oil must be ingested by the bug or caterpillar to be effective. Insects that don't eat the plant material won't be hurt such as the beneficial bees and ladybugs. The bees won't eat the leaves so they will never consume enough neem oil to be affected. There are also some wasps that kill the caterpillar as parasites. Neem oil will not kill these natural preditors either.

Even when using an organic insecticidal oil you still need to be careful when you spray. Any oil spray can smother and suffocate insects, and in that respect neem oil makes no difference between good and bad bugs.

When you spray neem oil, do it first thing in the morning or late in the evening, when the good bugs are least active. That way you won't hit any bees or other beneficial insects directly. The neem oil spray will dry before they land on the plants, and only the insects trying to eat your plants will die.

Below I have noted a link to an article in Gardenality on Growing Tomatoes. It will give you more information on ways to control pests and diseases on tomatoes. Just click on this link to go directly to the article.

Hope this helps you.


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June Stanley

June Stanley · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks so much John, appreciate the help.

8 years ago ·
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