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I Have Crawdads Eating The Roots Of My Tomato Plants:…

Jane Asked

I have crawdads eating the roots of my tomato plants: how do I stop them? My plants are next to a small creek, and they do well there, but the crawdads like the roots. I thought about using bleach or moth balls down their holes.

The Gardener’s Answer

Hello Jane: It has been such a wet season so far and if you have grown tomatoes in this space before with no problem I would suspect that increased moisture levels are to be blamed. These freshwater crustaceans typically feed on decaying material. From my understanding they are scavengers when it comes to eating. Not to say that they would not be eating the roots on your tomatoes but if your plants still look good I would not be too concerned. If they are feeding on the roots in amounts that would be damaging to the tomatoes you would be see a decline in health of the actual plants. Since your tomatoes are growing so close to the water source it is going to be difficult to completely eliminate the problem. Do not use any bleach or any chemicals that can be harmful to the plants and/or the water source. There is no general-purpose pesticide for crayfish control. Trapping them is one option. Fish, chicken, and other meats are used for baiting. Have some friends over for a crawfish boil or use them as fishing bait. If this continues to be a problem you might consider moving your tomatoes to another location in the garden for future plantings.

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