How to get rid of caterpillars on tomato plants is what can keep your plants healthy and help you control the damage caused while extending your plants’ lifespan. While tomato caterpillars, otherwise known as hornworms, aren’t dangerous to humans, they can be quite harmful to your plant.How to Get Rid of Caterpillars on Tomato Plants

You can try to use different ways to get rid of these pests, so read on as we will discuss how to get rid of tomato hornworms naturally and through the use of garden insect sprays.

How Can You Get Rid of Caterpillars on Tomato Plants?

You can get rid of caterpillars on tomato plants is removing them by hand or use an insecticide. You can also use different approaches, such as interplanting your tomatoes with other plants, using a predator insect, or making a homemade mixture that can remove the caterpillars.

– Removing by Hand

This method is the easiest method you can use to remove tomato hornworms and other small garden pests, such as cabbage worms, five-spotted hawk moths, beet armyworms, corn earworms, and more. While the caterpillars may be harmful to your plant, they are not harmful to humans.Removing Caterpillars by Hand

You can start by getting a small bucket you can drop the caterpillars and make sure that you are wearing a pair of gardening gloves. Carefully scan your plants by checking the stem, top of the leaves, as well as underneath the leaves. Pick off any tomato hornworm you find on them, and drop them in the bucket.

Once they’re picked off, you can squish them, release them into a drain, or give them to your chickens if you have any, because they feed on these pests. In this case, you must also be mindful to check your plants at least twice in one day, as these tomato hornworms are quite elusive and can camouflage well.

– Using an Insecticide or Pesticide

Another effective way to get rid of tomato hornworms is by using an insecticide or pesticide. These two options contain chemicals that are harmful to caterpillars and other types of pests. However, you need to be attentive when buying one, as some of them can also endanger your plant’s life.

Once you’ve gotten a plant-friendly insecticide, you should open your organic insecticide and spray directly on the pests to target them. Doing so will allow the insecticide to take action faster.

You can focus on this once or twice daily to improve effectiveness, but not excessively. Also, since many products come with different instructions, you can check the body of the spray or the label to know the most effective way to use your insecticide or pesticide.

– Using a Homemade Mixture

If you’re scared that using an insecticide may damage your plant, try your homemade mixture. Fortunately, the ingredients you need are easy to find, and you won’t endanger your plants or the environment when using them.Homemade Mixture for Caterpillars on Tomato Plants

Get a plastic bottle with a spray top, some cayenne pepper, soap, and water. Mix the three elements and make sure that they dissolve. You must use them because cayenne contains a chemical known as capsaicin, which can be harmful to tomato hornworms, and the soap can help supplement its effect.

Spray the mixture on the tomato hornworms, and they should fall off after a while; some of them may even die. You may also pick off the fallen pests and feed them to your poultry or squish them with your feet, so try to spread the mixture regularly to keep the pests at bay.

– Inter-planting Your Tomato With Other Plants

When you try to inter-plant, this is a natural option that you can utilize to eliminate green caterpillar on tomato plant with white eggs if you don’t wish to use any chemicals. Plants such as marigolds, dill, and Basil are known as companion plants, and they can help chase and kill tomato caterpillars, attract beneficial insects or natural predators, and improve your tomatoes’ flavor.

You can conduct companion planting by acquiring the seeds or planting and preparing the spots you want to plant them in. Ensure that the spot you choose is one that receives a lot of sunlight and the soil there is well-draining.

Then, you must remove any weed that may be around your chosen spot, loosen the soil with a small trowel, hoe, or garden fork, and mix some organic matter or compost with the soil. For this, make some holes that are big enough to accommodate the seeds or plants and place them in and close the soil gently while making sure that it’s firm around the roots.

Water your planted marigold, dill, or basil, and provide their bases with mulch so the soil can hold some moisture and fight against the weeds. After doing so, don’t forget that you should irrigate the plants at their base instead of watering the plant leaves.

– Till the Soil

If you’re considering how to get rid of caterpillars on tomato plants home, this option might be the right one for you. Tilling the soil might be a stressful endeavor, but there’s no doubt how this process can help protect your tomatoes from harmful caterpillars.Tilling Soil to Remove Caterpillars

The reason is that many tomato caterpillars tend to lay their eggs in the soil, which means that even if you’re able to remove the adults on your plant, you’re likely to continue experiencing the same problem since the eggs are buried and not eradicated.

Tilling your garden soil exposes the eggs, larvae, or pupae to natural elements, such as the sun in the height of summer or the harsh cold of winter, which can be harmful to the young caterpillars. So begin to clear the area where your tomatoes are planted by removing any debris, stone, rock, wood, dead roots, sticks, or weeds. If the soil in the area is dry and hard, you can add some water to soften and moisturize the soil.

Once the soil is soft enough, take your gardening hoe, hand-held cultivator, or small trowel and use it to till the soil. Then, aim to use the tool to work the soil in a back-and-forth motion, and make sure to reach about six to eight inches; finally, once you’re done tilling, use a rake to turn the soil over for better aeration.

– Planting Trap Crops

Planting trap crops is another good measure you can take to eradicate or prevent tiny caterpillars on tomato plants. Trap crops are plants planted far away from your tomatoes but attractive enough to pull the caterpillars or other pests away.Planting Trap Crops for Caterpillars

You can plant them outside your garden, but for tomato caterpillars, it’s best that you plant flower tobacco plants as they can help draw the caterpillars away and attract beneficial insects that can consume the tomato or tobacco hornworms. For this, you can get the seeds of the flower tobacco plant and prepare the spots you want to plant them in.

Make sure that the place you choose is one that receives a lot of sunlight and the soil there is well-draining. Then, remove any weed around your chosen spot, loosen the soil with a small trowel, hoe, or garden fork, and mix some organic matter or compost. Then, make some light holes that are enough to accommodate the seeds and plant them in and lightly close up the soil and press it gently to make sure it connects with the seed.

Water your planted flower tobacco seeds; make sure you don’t add too much water, as doing so can cause the seed to rot. Wait to add fertilizers until two to three weeks after the seedlings have started showing up.


That’s all about how to get rid of green caterpillars on tomato plants. Make sure to keep in mind these poitns if you’re considering how to get rid of caterpillars on tomato plants naturally or via a tomato caterpillar spray:

  • There are different insecticides and pesticides to help prevent the tomato hornworm life cycle; make sure to get an organic one.
  • If you use the recommended trap crops in your vegetable garden, make sure to thin them out when they’re about 12 to 18 inches to allow them to grow properly.
  • Tilling the soil before planting is effective as it will help you expose the eggs, larvae, or pupae of the pests to natural elements, which would eradicate them before they become adults.
  • If you can’t till the soil, you can use black plastic mulch or diatomaceous earth to kill or control tomato pests.
  • Whether you decide to go with natural route or utilize insecticides, our guide above is sure to help eliminate small green caterpillars on tomato plants.

Make sure to refrain from watering your tomato leaves, as doing so exposes them to pests and diseases.

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