Do Squirrels Eat Tomato Plants?

Squirrels are adorable with their bushy cheeks, but not when you are a gardener. Squirrels may appear harmless but can cause damage to plants. Therefore, gardeners are always looking for ways to protect their plants from squirrels. Some plants can be more susceptible to squirrels as opposed to others. 

Squirrels will eat tomato plants found in gardens. 

Squirrels have a varied diet, and they consume all sorts of things, from plants to small animals. If you have a tomato plant, it can fall prey to squirrel damage. Sometimes squirrels will eat whole tomatoes from the plants or eat some of them and leave the rest. In addition, squirrels can also rip the vine and take the plant somewhere safe to eat. 

What is Eating My Tomato Plants at Night?

If you suspect that something is eating your plants at night, it cannot be squirrels. Squirrels are not nocturnal animals and are active during the day while they sleep at night. While squirrels belong to the rodent family, they do not stay up during the night. 

Hence, there can be other animals eating your tomato plants at night. Some of the animals you can look out for are as follows: 

Snails and Slugs 

One of the most common garden pests is snails and slugs, which come out during the nighttime. You can also find them hiding in the mulch or underneath plants in shaded areas. If you have slugs or snails in your garden, you can tell by the damage, which is small holes in the leaves.

A great way to deal with slugs and snails is to sprinkle some eggshells near your tomato plants. The eggshells are rough and are uncomfortable for them to glide on. In addition, you can also sprinkle some coffee grounds, which also provide discomfort. 

In addition, installing beer traps is also a good idea. You can fill a small container with beer which will attract these slimy pests and drown them. Moreover, some other options include using slug repellents like copper tape to create a barrier around your plants. The copper wire reacts with the slime and gives an electrical jolt. 

Cutworms 

Cutworms are small, fat worms that are black and grey in color. The larvae hide in the soil in the daytime and then come out during the night to consume plants. You can tell that you have cutworms if the damage is at the stems, ground level. 

With cutworms, you can try handpicking them. Most people are not big fans of handpicking pests. You can wear gloves, go out during the night, pick cutworms, and get rid of them. A natural predator of cutworms is fireflies, so by attracting them, you can control their population. 

Using cardboard, you can use plant collars and place them around your plants until they are so thick that the cutworms cannot bite. In addition, diatomaceous earth is known to be a good option, and you can sprinkle some around your plant. 

Rabbits

It cannot always be insects that have been eating your tomato plants. Rabbits are also known to trouble gardeners as they consume plants and can damage them overnight. In the case of a rabbit attack, you will find that they will eat all the stems and fruits, leaving nothing behind. 

You can prevent damage caused by rabbits by fencing your garden. As rabbits are excellent diggers, they can dig their way inside your garden. Therefore, when you fence, you need to consider the depth as well as the height. 

In addition, you can spread some sulfur or keep an onion plant as they have strong smells, which are helpful in deterring rabbits. 

Hornworms

Hornworms are also known to cause damage to plants. These worms are usually three to five inches long and have a horn that sticks from their rear end. 

The hornworms which feed on tomatoes will not sting, but they can make holes in tomato leaves. In addition, hornworms like eating tomato flowers too. As the damage is mainly on the leaves, they can fall off, giving less protection to the tomatoes from the sun, which can damage them. You can also tell that you have hornworms by looking for their droppings, either black or green. 

The larvae of hornworms hide in the soil, which is why it would be a good idea to rake the soil and kill them. In addition, you can also handpick these works if you see them on your tomato plants and immerse them in soap water to kill them. Attracting predators like birds, wasps and ladybugs is also a good option as you can control the population this way. 

Do Squirrels Destroy Tomato Plants?

Squirrels follow a varied diet which is why you will be seeing them consume different things from plants to small animals. One of the plants which squirrels like to attack is tomatoes. 

Squirrels cause damage to tomato plants and can destroy them with their strong teeth. Sometimes, squirrels will leave bite marks on tomatoes and leave them as is. In a small amount of time, squirrels can destroy entire vines. In addition, squirrels will also eat green tomatoes. But these pests do not eat the whole tomato. There have been instances where squirrels pick the tomatoes from the vine to run off and eat them somewhere safe.

Summary 

One of the problems with maintaining a garden is constantly having to deal with pests. One such pest which affects gardens and damages plants is the squirrel. Squirrels follow a varied diet, and they eat different things, including tomatoes. Sometimes, squirrels will take a bite from the tomatoes or run off with one to eat somewhere safe. 

However, if you suspect that the damage is being done overnight, different animals may be doing so instead of squirrels. Squirrels are not nocturnal and sleep during the night, so they cannot be harming tomato plants. Some animals that can harm your tomato plants at night include rabbits, hornworms, cutworms, slugs, and snails.

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