Growing tomatoes in a garden is a delightful summertime activity that leaves you with an abundance of this vegetable to use throughout the year. So, you may become a little perturbed when you notice your plants aren't flourishing like you'd expect. They have holes, are yellowing and have an odd texture to them. Well, this may be due to an invasion of stink bugs, an annoying pest that is fond of feeding on various vegetables. If you're concerned for your tomatoes, consider these tips to keep them safe.
Why stink bugs are harmful to plants
Stink bugs embed their noses under the tomato skin, distributing an enzyme into the vegetable that causes it to turn to liquid. Then stink bugs drink it. After taking the juice out of the tomato, the stink bugs leave small holes in it that look like it was pricked with a needle. Once the liquid is removed, the portion yellows or whitens, making the vegetable undesirable. If there is an army of stink bugs on your tomatoes, you're bound to have a series of plants ruined.
Pest control tips
Weeds tend to attract certain types of insects, and stink bugs are no exception. Weeds and fallen leaves also give these bugs shelter and a spot to breed, Gardening Know How stated. So, before you begin your summer harvest for tomatoes, clear any weeds or flora around your plants so the garden is clean. Make sure to continually pull weeds until the tomatoes are ready to be picked.
Wash your plants
Regularly spraying your plants with water will help wash away any bugs they have on them, Tomato Dirt noted. If you don't have time to hose down your plants each day, consider creating a homemade repellant. Simply mix water and olive or vegetable oil and spray them on the leaves. Be sure to cover both the tops and bottoms.
Use natural deterrents
There are specific flowers and plants that you can plant in your garden that cause stink bugs to crawl in the other direction. These types of crops actually attract stink bugs, so they end up on the crop instead of your tomatoes. Stink bugs are attracted to yellow-hued plants, so consider investing in some marigolds, buckwheat, millet, garlic or sunflowers.
Take away the bugs
If you're spending time in your garden and you notice a few stink bugs crawling on your plants, pick them right off. Place the bugs in a bucket of soapy water, which prevents them from escaping.
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