Types Of Worms That Eat Tomato Plants

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Last Updated on October 29, 2022

If you are a gardener, you will want to know the types of worms that eat tomato plants. They are one of the most popular plants to grow as they are typically easy to maintain and often produce an abundance of tomatoes. However, they are not only popular among people but also worms as well.

Worms will commonly eat the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruit of your tomato plant. This can be problematic for your plant, as they can destroy it. Fortunately, by identifying these types of worms you can then know how to keep them away.

Species Of Worms That Eat Tomato Plants

No gardener ever wants to see worms eating their tomatoes. It can be frustrating to see all the hard work that went into maintaining your garden ruined by a bunch of hungry insects. By identifying these species, you can help put a stop to their havoc.

The most common types of tomato-eating worms include tomato hornworms, loopers, armyworms, and cutworms. These worm species can eat all parts of your tomato plant, which can completely destroy the plant. They can be a common problem that many gardeners have to deal with.

Species Of Worms That Eat Tomato Plants

These worms that you see on your tomato plants are actually either the larval stage of moths or caterpillars. They are generally brown or green in color, which lets them easily blend into your tomato plant. They can consume the leaves and other parts of tomatoes at a fast rate, so it is best to get rid of them as soon as you notice them.

Tomato Hornworms

There are two main types of hornworms, tomato hornworm, and tobacco hornworm. Both types like to eat tomatoes, tobacco, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other types of nightshade plants.

Tomato hornworms are recognizable by their chevron stripes and black horn on the backside of their green bodies. They are the larvae form of the five-spotted hawkmoth. They are one of the most common types of worms you will see on your tomato plants.

Though tobacco hornworms also have a green body, they have diagonal stripes and a red horn on their backside. They are the larvae form of the Carolina sphinx moth aka the Tobacco Hawk Moth.

Tomato and tobacco worms both enjoy eating the leaves of tomato plants. They will eat the flesh of the leaf and leave behind the veins.


The cabbage looper, or simply just the looper, eats a variety of fruits and vegetables including cabbage, tomatoes, beans, celery, lettuce, broccoli, and spinach. They are the caterpillar form of the Owlet moth.

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These green caterpillars arch their back into a loop as they crawl, hence the name loopers. Oftentimes, the moth will lay their eggs on the underside of the tomato leaves or other vegetable leaves. Then, they will eat parts of the plant as they grow.


Armyworms come in many different types and are the larvae form of armyworm moths. They are very destructive and will eat a variety of different plants.

Most of the time, armyworms will cause the most problems in the summertime. The most common type of armyworm is brown or gray, with the males having white spots whites.

Female armyworm moths will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. The larvae will then consume various parts of the plant.


Cutworms are one of the most problematic types of worms you can find in your garden. They are the larvae of Turnip moths or Large Yellow Underwing moths. They are generally green, yellow, gray, or brown in color, making it easy for them to camouflage in your garden.

Cutworms will eat a variety of different plants, mostly eating the leaves, stems, and buds. They are called cutworms because they cut down young plants as they feed on their stems. They can cause lots of damage to gardens, so it is best to get rid of them as soon as you spot them.


While some cutworms will continue to eat the plant they cut down, others will move unto other plants to eat their stems. They can easily take out a whole row of young tomato plants in just a couple days’ time.

How To Get Rid Of Worms On Your Tomato Plants

Worms on tomato plants can wreak havoc in no time. They will not only target your tomatoes but likely other plants in your garden.

If you notice worms on your tomato plants, you can carefully pick them off your plants while wearing gloves. Though it can be time-consuming, it is an easy and free way to get rid of your worm problem. Neem oil is also an easy solution to keep worms and other bugs off of your plants.

Diatomaceous earth is another safe and effective way to rid your garden of unwanted bugs. Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of small aquatic creatures known as diatoms. It works by dehydrating and drying out insects.

Making your garden bird-friendly is another great way to keep bugs at bay. By putting out bird feeders and birdbaths, you will attract different species of birds. These birds will also eat the worms in your garden, helping out your plants.


What are the worms that eat tomato plants?

There is a huge number of insects that eats tomato plants. This includes lady beetles, mites, caterpillars, whiteflies, and more. Lady Beetles Lady beetles are probably the most common pest on tomato plants. They eat the leaves, which can cause the plant to wilt and die. If you notice the plant has wilted or has yellow leaves, it is best to pick it up and move it into a different location so it can recover.

The worms that eats tomato plants are generally small, white and round. The worms may also be found in other parts of your garden such as the flower bed, vegetable garden or even on the lawn.

There are worms that are actually called "tomato leaf miners". These are small, soft bodied, white, worm like creatures. They are very tiny and are usually less than 1mm in length. The worms live in the soil surrounding your tomato plants. They come out of the ground and lay their eggs on the leaves of the tomato plant. When they hatch, the larvae begin to eat the leaves. This will eventually kill the plant.

You should watch out for the caterpillars of the tomato hornworm moth, Manduca sexta. They’re a pest of all kinds of fruit and vegetable crops, including tomatoes, melons, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, beans, squash, and more. The pest’s larvae are also known as “hornworms” because they have two horns on their head. 

When should I start to be concerned?

You should start to worry when they start to multiply and eat a lot- Then you will need to find out what is causing this. Insects and pests are common in the garden. A large variety of insects and pests exist that can cause harm to plants. There are many types of pest and insect problems in the garden. They include insects, such as caterpillars, aphids, mites, beetles and slugs; and diseases, such as mildew, rust, and viruses.

What’s the biggest with dealing with a hornworm infestation?

If they’re in your yard, they will eat plants and trees that you have planted or trees that were planted in your yard. They can also destroy your lawn.

The main problem is that they can cause damage that is difficult to detect. If you are not aware of their presence, they could be causing serious damage to your yard before you know it. They may leave behind eggs that hatch into larvae.

What plants repel hornworms?

It is important to plant some plants that will help prevent hornworm damage.

These include:

Echinacea – Echinacea is known for its anti-bacterial properties and can help deter hornworms. It is also known to attract beneficial insects. Echinacea should be planted in full sun.

In areas where there is lots of snow, echinacea should be planted in a warmer area in order to bloom earlier.

Marigolds – Marigolds are effective at repelling hornworms. They can also deter other insects. Marigolds can be planted in the fall and in the spring as well. They do best when planted in full sun.

Dill – Dills can be planted in the fall and in the spring. It has been shown to deter hornworms. It also helps attract bees and butterflies. You can plant dill in full sun. Dill will grow best if planted in a well-drained soil.

Nasturtium – This plant has been known to repel hornworms.

Keeping Worms Away From Your Garden

There are various types of tomato worms that can damage and destroy your plants. The most common type of worms you will see on your tomatoes include loopers, armyworms, cutworms, and hornworms.

Though these types of worms will mainly eat the leaves of your tomato plants, they will also eat the stems, flowers, and fruit as well. Fortunately, there are some simple solutions to keep these pesky bugs away.

Diatomaceous earth and neem oil are simple and safe products you can add to your plants to keep bugs away. In addition, you can also make your garden more bird-friendly, as they will eat your bugs. You can even pick them off with your hands while wearing gloves.

Do you have any questions regarding worms that eat tomato plants? If so, please ask any questions regarding the types of worms that eat tomatoes and how to keep them away.

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