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Tomato Pinworm Damage


Well it looks like we're finally getting into some fall production. And the good news is we've got some tomatoes ripening, especially if you used the Surefire or Heatwave tomato variety we recommend. The bad news is it may not have ripened by itself; it might have had a little help.

If you look at a lot of tomatoes that are ripening, especially the first ones on the plant, you see these worm holes. Now I'm holding a beautiful dish of tomatoes that all came out of my garden and they sure look nice until you start looking at them. Then you see that each one of them has holes in it.

Now there are two kinds of damage that we're having. First of all this is caused by pinworm. This is caused by pinworm, a little worm that eats in right around where the tomato stem is attached to the fruit. Then if you have a bigger tomato of course it takes a bigger worm I guess to eat it, and if it's got a great big hole in the bottom like that, that's caused by a tomato fruit worm. The deal on those is they're real bad this time of the year.

Now a lot of people get upset and say, "Well, you know I should've have sprayed. I wanted to do it organically I guess I should have sprayed." Well, not necessarily because these things are real hard to control. The deal is the fruit that they damage will ripen first so your thinking all the fruit that you have has been damaged and that's not the case. So take a pocketknife, cut these bad places off, eat the fruit, and live happily ever after and be glad you've got some good ripe tomatoes.

This is Jerry Parsons Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service the Weekend Gardener.

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