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A Critter is Eating My Tomatoes - What Can it Be?

Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:03 pm
by HarveyMushman
Hello everybody.

Every evening I close the window and door to my greenhouse after watering up, and every morning when I return, several of the (usually ripened) tomatoes on the lowest stems have been half eaten by some sort of mini-critter with a large appetite and sharp teeth.

Whatever it is seems to be able to reach upto five or six inches high from the compost level in the pot, and can shift several tomato halves in one sitting.

What baffles me is that the greenhouse is sealed. I can see only the tiniest gaps at the base where anything could possibly get in. Whatever it is is certainly not in there during the daytime - I check every day, and the greenhouse is very small.

This has happened every single night now for the past three weeks at least.

I am not so bothered about the tomatoes, but I am intrigued as to who the culprit might possibly be.

Any suggestions or similar experiences?

Thanks!

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:15 pm
by TZ -OH6
Rats could climb in through any crack big enough for their head to pass through, and they will burrow in as well, they also work at night. Easy to test with a rat trap w/ peanut butter.

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:37 pm
by JennyC
Tomato hornworms are a likely culprit.

https://www.oznet.ksu.edu/dp_hfrr/extensn/problems/hornworm.htm

Hunt carefully along the stems when it's cool out (early morning) and squish any you find. You wouldn't believe how much they can eat, and they never seem to eat more than half a tomato. They like ripe or ripening ones best, too.

[Editing to add that you really do have to hunt; the little suckers hide, and they blend very well with tomato leaves. Squishing is effective in a small garden or greenhouse, though -- there shouldn't be more than one or two per plant, and likely fewer than that.]

something eating your tomatoes

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:25 pm
by cgiglio01
Hi,

The only critters I've had seen eating my tomatoes are chipmunks. And they can get into almost any small opening in the green house. It happened the 1st year I had a garden, right when I was going to pick the ripe tomatoes, they'd be half eaten or down on the ground half eaten. For some reason that was the only season it happened, but nothing since has bothered my tomatoes. Maybe some chicken wire around them could stop them?

Good luck!