It is not uncommon to look into the soil at the base of your potted tomato plant and see little tiny white worms wriggling around in the soil. And, although it’s not uncommon, it can be a little upsetting – especially considering you are hoping to eat the tomatoes!! So, if you’ve had this happen, here are some answers to questions you might be thinking:
1. What are the worms?
Well, this is a tough one which can be hard to diagnose without actually seeing the worm and the conditions that the tomato plant are growing in, however typically, these little worms are simply the result of larvae from Sciaridae – or tiny tiny fungus gnats/flies. These gnats often appear in warm, moist soils. If you see tiny gnats buzzing around the base of the plant, chances are, this is the reason for your worms!
2. Will these worms infect or kill my tomato plant?
If they are indeed fungus gnats that you have, then though they are annoying, they are relatively harmless to a full grown plant and unlikely to do any damage. Small seedlings however may be more susceptible to them.
3. Will the tomatoes still be okay to eat?
If all you have are the Sciaridae, there will be no problem with eating the fruit of the tomato plant. The tiny gnat worms should not get inside a tomato, but rather they’ll remain on the soil at the base of the plant.
3. How do I get rid of the worms!?
In order to get rid of the worms, you have to treat the reason that’s causing the worms to appear – which more than likely is a perpetually moist soil. Something as simple as letting the top of the soil dry out can drastically reduce the number of worms (and thus the number of gnats) that you have around your tomato plant. You can also try detergent, insecticidal soap, or mulch or sand on the top of the soil.