drh146
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Location: New Bern, NC

holes in tomatillos plus leaf-footed bugs

Im growing tomatillos this year. The leaves are getting holes in them from what i expect are small flea beetles:
tomatilo flea beetle.JPG
There are also holes in the tomatillos themselves. At least one hole in seemingly every tomatillo, so i wasnt sure if the tiny beetles could also do that..
holes in toma.JPG
However, there are also 2 different other bugs all over the bushes. These tough looking dudes:
stink bug.JPG
and these ant looking guys:
ants1.JPG
ants2.JPG
Both I see in other places in my garden, but never notice any damage from them.

Can anyone help me identify them? Are they good insects? Or are they the ones making the holes in the fruits? Are there any organic ways to deal with them?
Mainly, i would like the tomatillos to stop getting holes, but if i can also stop the leaves getting holes that would be nice. I use neem oil on my tomatoes for horn worms, and will start spraying these tomatillos as well, but is there something different that would be better? I guess diatomaceous earth is a last resort...

Thanks in advance!

pepperhead212
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Re: holes in tomatillos

My tomatillos ALWAYS get holes in the leaves. I can never find anything on them, but it doesn't seem that it's flea beetles, as they seem to do more damage, with many of them on plants they are attracted to, and easily found on the undersides of leaves. I spray Surround on eggplants to prevent flea beetles, and also spray tomatillos; this helps the tomatillos, but I still see some holes.

My guess is that it is a bug out of the ground at night, going back in during the day, not to be found. I say this because the last couple of years I grew some tomatillos in SIPs, and those got no holes, while the ones in the ground had holes, as always. Never had any problems with the fruits, but maybe that was from something you have down there different from here.
Dave

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applestar
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Re: holes in tomatillos

I don't know the culprit for the holes, but the "tough looking dudes" are leaffooted bugs -- related to stinkbugs and very bad for your garden. They suck on tomatoes and cucurbits, beans. And the "ant looking" red bugs are their little ones.

It's possible they ARE the ones making holes in the outer paper covering to get at the tomatillos inside.
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!potatoes!
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Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

Re: holes in tomatillos

i agree that the holes in the leaves are likely flea beetles. not something i ever worry about. the holes in tomatillos are from an insect larvae that i haven't yet fully identified - it's either a beetle or a lepidopteran (moth or butterfly) larvae. i've caught them in the act a number of times - they attack the fruit on a number of physalis species, seen them on/burrowing into regular tomatoes, too.

with their sucking mouthparts, leaf-footed bugs are incapable of cutting out big round holes like on the tomatillo pictured.

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applestar
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Re: holes in tomatillos

Ah! Good to know. Please let us know when you find out the culprit. 8)
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KitchenGardener
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Re: holes in tomatillos

Hah! Think they should rename them "Tough Looking Dudes" as its such a great description!

drh146
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Location: New Bern, NC

Re: holes in tomatillos

Thanks, is there anything i can do to rid my garden of the leaffooted bugs ? Besides a dustbuster and soapy water ?

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