What Are Considered the Major Pests of Tomato Plants? (And How to Repel Them?)

  • By: TheWalledNursery
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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It can, unfortunately, be difficult to grow the ideal tomato.

It can also be depressing to enter the garden after all of your hard work only to discover that tomato bugs have foiled your efforts.

Tomato plants pests solutions
Tomato plants pests

After all, there are a wide range of tomato pests that can and will prey on your crops if you’re not careful. 

For example, the top 5 most common major pests when it comes to tomato plants are fruitworms, aphids, slugs, leaf-footed bugs, beetles and more. 

Continue reading to learn more about tomato plant pests, including fruitworms, aphids, slugs, and leaf-footed bugs, as well as how to get rid of these nasty pests, and more.  

What Are Considered the Top 5 Major Pests of Tomato Plants?  

1. Fruitworms 

Insects known as tomato fruitworms (Helicoverpa zea), also known as cotton bollworms and corn earworms, attack tomatoes and other plants.

Fruitworms can eat tomato

When your tomato plants are infested with fruitworms, the tomato is attacked by the fruitworm larval through tunnelling. 

These larvae consume the inside of your tomato fruits, leaving a hollow containing fluid and excrement. The tomato then rots and decomposes as a result of the infestation. 

When infested by fruitworms, your tomatoes are also no longer edible.

As a Result – The best course of action to take in order to ensure none of your other plants become infected includes removing and discarding the entire plant. 

How To Repel Fruitworms? 

Nothing is more annoying than taking a tomato off the vine only to discover that it has a hole the size of a pencil eraser in it and is rotting from the inside out.

The tomato fruitworm is to blame for this particular tomato fruit issue. 

Thankfully, tomato fruitworms do have some natural enemies. Controlling these troublesome creatures can be greatly aided by attracting them to your garden.

For example, some of the most common fruitworm predators include lacewigs and damsel bugs.  

2. Aphids

Aphids, unfortunately, tend to appear in every garden.

These tiny pests are tiny, soft-bodied insects that eat by sucking liquids from plants that are rich in nutrients.

aphids in the garden

They may drastically weaken plants in huge numbers, damaging blossoms and fruit.  

Since aphids proliferate quickly, it’s critical to eradicate them before they may begin to reproduce.

After all, one season can produce several generations. The good news is that aphids typically travel slowly and may, fortunately, also be managed with careful attention. 

How To Repel Aphids? 

Use a garden hose to spray a vigorous stream of water to remove aphids off plants.

Early in the season, before an infestation has really taken hold, is when this strategy is most successful.  

3. Slugs 

Unfortunately, if you live in a very cold, humid area, every square yard of your garden may have approximately 200 slugs.

These disgusting critters will often consume older decaying matter and significant decomposing organisms, but if those are not present, they will consume nearly all agricultural plants.  

Slugs in the garden

Slugs are a serious issue when it’s chilly and rainy outside.

They are particularly hungry and when in large numbers, will strip almost mature plants or destroy an entire bed of seedlings in one night.  

These pests can also generate up to three generations each year and proliferate quickly. As a result, it is essential you stay on top of any slug infestations. 

How To Repel Slugs? 

The good news is that there are quite a few simple methods one may use to get rid of these sticky insects.

Take note, that if you want to completely eradicate every slug in your yard, you may also need to consider a few different techniques rather than relying just on one for optimal results. 

Overall – One of the best ways to repel slugs includes spraying your plants with a vinegar solution. For example, 1 cup water to 1/2 cup vinegar.  

4. Leaf-Footed Bugs 

Leaf-footed bugs range in size from medium to large and eat ornamental plants, fruits, and vegetables with fruit.

They also eat many other plant components, especially seeds.  

Leaf-footed bugs tomato pest
Leaf-footed bugs

The term “leaf-footed bugs,” which belong to the family Coreidae, comes from the little, leaf-like enlargements on their rear legs.

They have a close relationship with other sucking insects, such as the family Pentatomidae’s stink bugs, which can also syphon plant liquids. 

How To Repel Leaf-Footed Bugs? 

Broad-spectrum insecticides with pyrethroid bases are, overall, the most effective against leaf-footed bugs. The best example of this is permethrin 

Another effective method for getting rid of these pests is by hand-picking and squishing them or by putting them in a pail of soapy water. 

5. Beetles 

Beetles devour tomato plant leaves, leaving behind both little and huge holes.

If you come across any of these bugs, you should get rid of them right away. 

Tomato plant pests beetles

Take note, however, that there are several kinds of pests that may irritate your tomato plants.

For example, you may witness flea beetles, Colorado potato bugs, or blister beetles all trying to take a bite out of your tomato plant.  

How To Repel Beetles? 

Since beetles have a tendency to migrate toward wetness, regions with moisture problems or proximity to water typically see the highest levels of beetle infestations.

These bugs, unfortunately, present several concerns, ranging from contaminating dry foods to harming your wood or plants, therefore the problem needs to be addressed right away. 

Firstly, you must confirm that the bug you are dealing with is a beetle before you can move on with a treatment plan. Careless identification might result in the use of incorrect treatment items, which can be a time loss. 

Once you know you are dealing with a beetle, remove the insect from your plant by hand and place it in a bucket of soapy water. 

Although this method takes a long time, it is the most efficient technique to get rid of these pests.  

Neem oil and potassium bicarbonate sprays are also somewhat effective, however, take note that excessive use of these products may also cause harm to your tomato plants. 


The top 5 most common major pests when it comes to tomato plants are fruitworms, aphids, slugs, leaf-footed bugs, beetles, and more.

To repel pests from your tomato plans you need to work out what pest is attacking your tomatoes first.

Working out the pest is the best way to find out how to repel them. read above to find out the best repellent.