As in their name, the Tomato Pinworms host plants are in the Solanaceae family. This includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants. They are primarily a pest in tropical and subtropical regions, however the first incidence in Canada was reported in 1946. Since then, it has been observed in a few greenhouses every year.
Life cycle and appearance of Tomato Pinworm
The Tomato Pinworm will go through 4 life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adults will start laying eggs in the middle of the night once temperatures reach above 16C. The eggs will hatch and then the newly-hatched larva will find a suitable place to enter the leaf. The larva will continue to eat leaves and fruit for the better part of its life, eventually dropping to the ground, by a thread, to pupate. Pupation can also occur in leaf folds and fruits. This insect is unable to survive the winter outdoors in Canada.
The Tomato Pinworm can be found in the plants fruit and in the leaves, by tunneling or mining through the plant tissue. The mine will start off long and narrow, then widening becoming blotched as the larvae grow. Older larvae are even known to pull two leaves together to eat two leaves at once. In severe infestations, crops will look burnt and the fruit will have very small pinholes in them.
How to get rid of Tomato Pinworm
Koppert offers different solutions for biological pest control of Tomato Pinworm.