How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Pest identification and confirmation—Tomato pinworm

Early instars of pinworm are light colored and appear smooth. They lack the obvious tubercles and bristles of newly hatched tomato fruitworms. Later instars, the stages most often found in fruit, are usually gray or yellowish with an irregular band of red or purple across each segment. The slender, brown pupa is usually enclosed in a loose silk cocoon with adhering soil or plant debris. Adult moths are light gray, peppered with small black flecks, and can be confused with the potato tuberworm. Don't confuse leaf damage with mining of leafminers, which is narrow and meandering, with a dark line of feces threaded through it. Leafminers never fold leaves.

Pinworm damage
Pinworm damage (left) vs. leafminer damage
Tomato pinworm
Tomato pinworm
Potato tuberworm
Potato tuberworm


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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