Protect Tomatoes by Using Nylon Maggot Barriers

Nylon maggot barriers can be slipped over ripening tomatoes to protect them from pests.

Tomato Plant

Keep your tomatoes healthy and pest-free by following this inexpensive, reader-submitted tip.

Photo by Fotolia/Saidin Jusoh

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I live in northeastern Oklahoma, and for the past three years, rabbits, rats, mice and voles have been eating my prize ‘L.P.’ tomatoes, a variety I carefully developed over seven years. I gardened in raised beds, installed fencing and chicken wire, and have even tried a bunch of animal repellents, but nothing has worked. Finally, I saw an ad in the Territorial Seed catalog for a product called “Maggot Barriers,” which were designed to protect apples. I bought these barriers and slipped them over my green tomatoes. I left the nylon covers on until the tomatoes were fully ripe. Not a single tomato was bothered by pests! 

 As a test, I left one tomato unprotected right next to a protected tomato. Pests promptly ate the unprotected tomato. I gave two friends some of the barriers, and this product solved their tomato problems, too. I can only guess that critters and insects either can’t identify the covered tomatoes, or they don’t like the nylon texture, which still allows air, sun and rain to pass through. I’ve been washing and reusing these covers. I recommend your readers try this product — it really works.

L.P. Jones
Miami, Oklahoma 

For an inexpensive alternative, cut the feet off old nylon pantyhose and slip the protective sock over vine-ripening, homegrown tomatoes. MOTHER