Ways to Control Tomato Bugs and Pests

2 Sep

There are various ways to control the many bugs and pests that infest and eat tomatoes and tomato plants. Methods range from what may best be described as “good housekeeping”, where your soil and the garden environment are kept clean and well-weeded, to applying insecticides that have been evolved to control specific bugs.

While the many chemical treatments are proven to work, not everybody likes to spray chemicals on plants that produce food they plan to eat. Happily there are also a growing number of organic insecticide-type sprays on the market. Another alternative is to make your own.

Good Housekeeping in the Garden

Before you plant tomato seedlings, weed the area thoroughly. If there are weeds growing in the ground, they will thrive as you feed and water your seedlings, providing a perfect breeding ground for a number of pests.

Also consider planting companion plants along with the tomatoes. Not only do certain plants grow better together, supporting, providing shelter and even producing nutrients in the soil for one another, but some herbs do seem to deter bugs. Basil, for instance, produces a natural chemical that repels aphids. Many people also believe that tomatoes will develop more flavour if grown with basil.

Nematodes can be a major problem in tomato beds, but both companion planting (marigolds make a great companion plant for tomatoes) and crop rotation can help to keep the soil clean and healthy. In severe circumstances, remove the top layer of affected soil and bring in fresh, well-composted soil to replace it.

If you are able to remove bugs by hand, do so. If you act swiftly, it can be effective, if a little time consuming.

Organic and Home-Made Remedies

Apart from the human factor, insecticides will usually kill beneficial insects as well as the nasty bugs that are destroying your tomato plants. Most outlets that stock insecticides also stock organic products that don’t contain harmful toxics. Ins

Many insects loath the smell of garlic

Many insects loath the smell of garlic

pect the labels to see:

a)      which products are recommended for vegetables in general and tomatoes in particular,

b)      what the products contain,

c)       how the products should be used.

Both home-made garlic and chilli sprays can be used effectively to get rid of sap-sucking insects including thrips, aphids, scale, white fly and even stink bugs (a type of beetle).

Crop oils and sticky traps can be an effective means of controlling white fly.

Tomato Pest Control Remedies

Chillies can be used to dispel insects.

In our ebook set Companion Planting for Veggies and Natural Pests Control Remedies we provide a slew of tips and recipes for controlling 50 common pests in your garden

Insecticides and Chemicals

Unfortunately there is no getting away from the fact that chemicals are generally the quickest and most effective means of getting rid of bugs and other pests. In many instances broad spectrum insecticides may be the only solution for a really bad infestation of pests.

For more information on controlling bugs and pests, read our book How to Grow Juicy Tasty Tomatoes.