What's eating Mom's tomatoes??

My elderly mother called me tonight and asked me to put a message on "that thing," and that is what I am doing right now.
She has a small garden and lately, something is eating bites out of her tomatoes. I don't think the bites are small either. Also I don't know of any big animals that would have access to them as her garden is fenced in, I think.
Anyone have any idea of what could be doing this and also, what precautions could be taken to stop this?
Thanks, Mark Ferrante
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A couple of possibilities.....birds could be pecking at them; if the weather has been dry, and they don't have a good source of water, they sometimes peck at tomatoes for the moisture. A birdbath, or even a pan of water, changed daily, can help alleviate this behavior. Another possibility is squirrels, they sometimes bite at tomatoes, again, an alternative source of water may help.
Or it could be hornworms--they are large, and can eat a surprising amount out of a tomato. They are green, and blend in fairly well, but if you look through the foliage you can spot them. You can usually spot their droppings, which are small black pellets. You can handpick and destroy them, but leave any that have what looks like grains of rice on their backs--they are doomed by parasite wasps. Here's more info: http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Pests/tomato.htm although personally I would not use the pesticides this site recommends. If the infestation is so severe that handpicking can't control it, I would use Bt. Here's more on Bt: http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/ent/biocontrol/pathogens/bacteria.html It's readily available at most nurseries, one brand name is Dipel. Do use it with care, as it is indiscriminate in killing "good" caterpillars as well as bad.
Hope this helps, Sue snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net Zone 6, Southcentral PA

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OMG I've been finding the "frass" on my pepper plants wondering what the hell it is. Now I know...I found one of these caterpillers a few weeks ago on one of my tomatoes and smooshed him, but haven't seen any since then. I'm gonna get my butt dressed and go 'piller huntin...

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Slugs, tomato fruitworm, birds.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Might be a land tarpon. Those critters will take a bite out of a tomato and move to the next tomato. I caught one in the act!! grrrrrrr.... Mine were fenced in too. He just dug under in and made himself at home!!! He stayed hidden for a couple of days until I saw him.. As soon as I relocated him - the holes have stopped. Susie :-))

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
FERRANTE wrote:

I'm sorry. I'll stop.
8^(~~~ Sue (remove the x to e-mail) ~~~~~~
"I reserve the absolute right to be smarter today than I was yesterday." -Adlai Stevenson ************************************************* http://www.intergnat.com/malebashing / ************************************************* Due to the receipt of unmanagable amounts of SPAM, I have had to add an extra letter to my e-mail address. Remove the "x" to contact me directly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 08 Aug 2003 01:58:59 GMT, "Stephen M. Henning"

Northwest Ohio.
Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.