question 587087 continued (Marian ) #589070 - Ask Extension


question 587087 continued (Marian ) #589070

Asked August 14, 2019, 2:40 PM EDT

This is the message and new photos which you should have received ( and apparently did not ) in response to your answer to question 587087. I have photographed some of the damaged fruit as you suggested. The holes in the photo of the tomato on the vine seem to be from a bird but I have never heard of birds eating tomatoes. The holes in the photo of the tomato on the table top might also be from a bird but the other damage looks like it was done by something larger than a bird. I have similar but smaller damage on a couple of my peppers. Can you tell what is causing it? My house and garden are surrounded by a small woods so there are plenty of birds around but I in the past the birds never bothered my vegetable plants.

Charles County Maryland

Expert Response

Thank you for the additional photos.  We cannot say for sure what took a bite from the ripe tomato.  It looks like it may have been a bird.  Wildlife will take bites from fruits looking for moisture.  This can leave the fruit vulnerable to secondary pathogens. If birds seem to be the issue, you may want to cover with bird netting. 

The green tomato on the vine looks like it may have been subject to feeding by possible caterpillars.  For example, a climbing cutworm, armyworm, or even a tomato fruitworm. They may have failed to continue the journey to the fruit center.

Green tomato on the countertop - We notice a larvae in the center of the tomato so a type of caterpillar got to the center.  On the outside we cannot tell if the tomato was subject to a type of wildlife damage (deer, groundhog, raccoon) or tomato hornworm as the photo is not clear.  

We recommend that you harvest your tomatoes when they are just beginning to turn from green to pink/red. They will ripen beautifully on a kitchen counter without any loss of flavor. The advantage is that you can avoid a lot of fruit damage from cracking, insects pests, diseases, and wildlife.  

Here is some information on tomatoes and common problems
more vegetable insects
The only sure way to prevent wildlife damage is fencing. If you are surrounded by woods, you will have to keep an eye out for this. 

You can send us photos of your green peppers so we can see what you are dealing with.


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