Can anyone help me identify some bite marks please? I'm attaching pictures. enter image description here

enter image description here

I've seen some ants around, I'm planning to get rid of them. These marks however seem to have some "saliva" left-over, which is weird. I thought it could be a snail/slug, but I didn't find any slime trail anywhere around the plant, nor in the ground close to the plant. As you may notice I'm using growbags, so it could be that it's hiding below the growbag during the day. Still, I didn't find slime trails around.

Today is the first day I've noticed these ones, and they are only present in 2 plants, out of the 10 I have. I have them in a row, so it's likely that this pest is living close by this end of the row. These are tomatillos, which is a variety of mexican green tomato.

Any guesses and recommendations?

By the way, I heard cinammon powder would keep ants away, so I sprinkled a circle around the base of my plants, but I think it didn't work that well. I'm not sure, becuase it has been raining recently and the water washed it away. How to keep ants away, in your experience? Should I continue with the cinammon?

Thank you very much for your help!

  • Looks more like caterpillar damage, but if you've seen ants on the plants themselves, check for aphids - that's what attracts ants, they don't want to eat your plant leaves, though they sometimes cut off some leaf and carry it away to their nest. This doesn't look like ant cutting though.
    – Bamboo
    Jul 1, 2017 at 13:28
  • In addition to caterpillars, it may be from grasshoppers or beetles. I don't know about on tomatoes, but I found curious striped beetles eating volunteer tomatillo foliage. I'm not sure about saliva, though. Did you find any pellets? Flea beetles may be another alternative. If you've found a nest, maybe you can rule out these alternatives, though. Jul 2, 2017 at 0:13
  • Thank you for your answers. I have not found any aphids. Would they be active during the day? I looked accross the plant, on and below the levaves, but found no insects, except one or two ants running up and down. I did find however what I think are feces, which I presume from the caterpillar affecting my plants. Would I find caterpillars on the plant itself? Or do they hide somewhere else when not eating?
    – gmedina-v
    Jul 2, 2017 at 16:22
  • Also, I didn't find any pellets, and I haven't seen any grasshoppers or beetles around. I think there is an ant colony below one of my growbags, for when I tried to lift the corner to look for clues, a bunch of ants came out running all panicked up and down. Should I get rid of them, if so, what would you recomend? vinegar? I'm a complete newbie to gardening, so I appreciate all your advice.
    – gmedina-v
    Jul 2, 2017 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


You should find caterpillars. Look underneath (bottom of leaves) and take a look at various parts of the day - early as well as late.

  • I looked now that it's dark and I found them! But they are slugs, not caterpillars. I guess I couldn't see the slime trail clearly in the daylight, but there they were, an awful lot. I removed the ones that were on the plants and I sprinkled salt around the base, that should keep them away, I hope. I tried to splinkle it on top of the plastic of the growbag, but some fell on the soil. Would that be super bad for my plants if that salt gets absorbed into the soil when I water them? Thank you for your advice
    – gmedina-v
    Jul 2, 2017 at 22:08

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