Love Apple Farms: I hate Tomato Fruitworms

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Diann Homsy

Hi Cynthia, With the weather so wet in the morning in Ben Lomond, my poor tomatoes aren't ripening, what can I do, it has been a cold summer. Can they be brought in to ripen? Thanks, Diann

Jan C.

I have a trick that costs a pack of seeds.
I find the tomato fruitworm loves borage over tomatoes. I plant borage next to tomatoes, and when I see their frazz on the borage, I chop the borage off at the ground and throw it into a plastic garbage bag and seal it. All worms are usually gone for the season. I just eliminated them.


This is the first time I've had tomato fruitworms and I was glad to find your web site with some helpful info - they really did a number on my tomato crop this year.

carrie Moyer

Hi Cynthia...just fyi..I have ordered the next phase of my defense plan against the critters that got my whole harvest last year...what do you think of solar powered rodent sound wave plans? And I also got a motion sensor owl. I also have deterrent...don't know if it was squirrels, rats or racoons that feasted last year but taking no chances!

Love Apple Farm

Laura: email me photos at [email protected] and I'll see if I can figure it out.



I came across your Web site seeking info on a BROWN caterpillar I found on my tomato plant. This guy had two green stripes running the length of him and didn't seem to be destroying anything, unless I just got to him too quickly for him to get started, I have photos and cannot match his appearance to anything. Any ideas?

If not, I enjoyed perusing your Web site anyway! THANKS! Laura

Love Apple Farm

Michael: The picture is indeed the tomato fruitworm, also known as the corn earworm, or bollworm, scientific name Lepidoptera. They range in color from pale yellow (which you may be more familiar with in Florida) to the light green that we have here in California. I sometimes get tomato hornworms as well. I do agree that they are less destructive than the fruitworm.


those are hornworms (Manduca quinquemaculata), not tomato fruitworm moth larvae (Heliothis zea). the hornworms are much larger, and, ultimately, less damaging.

Jan Bryant

Cynthia- WOW what a wonderful site. Every time I open your site I walk away with new information-Thank you sooo for all your hard work & sending it our way. Jan

J. Carey, Homesteaders Garden Project

Trap crop those tomato hornworms. Plant borage close enough to be next to the tomatoes, but at a location where you still can pick the tomatoes. The horn worms love borage more than tomatoes! At the first sign of frazz, the small chunks of black horn worm catepillar poops/BM/feces, cut off most of borage as one bunch, put the bunch into a plastic garbage bag, seal. No more Hornworms!
You eliminated them!

Cynthia, your website is a feast for the eyes. Thank you!

Melita Israel

I still have tomatoes growing in my garden. Dec 6. The plant is on the south face of a building. Think I'll pot it up.
The squash plant is coming out tomorrow. Just remember to pull off the blossoms so the fruit won't rot. The plant gives a longer season of harvest. PS I've very sandy soil.

Love Apple Farm

Megan: In my opinion, I do not think it's possible to grow tomatoes successfully outside in the winter in California. The day length is just too short, and of course the weather is too cold, even for the supposedly "cold-weather" tomatoes. The amount of manipulation people would need to do to get an acceptable crop would be too much trouble for the average gardener. If you had a heated greenhouse with grow-lights, and really knew what you were doing, then it's possible. But the cold weather tomato purveyors aren't telling you that.


I never knew about the trichogramma wasp but now I'm curious to use this defense against caterpillars.


Hi Cynthia, Love the site! Have you/Do you ever plant the new tomatoes that supposdly grow during the Winter?


She Who Digs

Hi Cynthia, thanks for stopping by at my blog. Re the parships: I must just have very rich soil, as it's not been added to for at least 3 years! I'm on heavy clay thought, so that can also cause the roots to bifurcate. I have a friend who lives in Maxwell California, in rice country- very different growing conditions to here! SWD

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