Q: My sister and I have a question about the picture attached. What causes “spotty tomatoes”?
A: The spots are caused by stinkbugs. These insects feed by sticking their sharp, hollow “nose” into the skin of a tomato and sucking out the juice – like you and I would enjoy a soft drink.
They don’t keep their noses clean – so bacteria and fungi are injected under the tomato skin every time they feed. That’s what causes the sunken areas around the initial insertion spot.
Stinkbugs are hard to control if you let the population get ahead of you in summer. Mow any weeds near your garden this fall to deprive them of winter hiding places. Keep a lookout for stinkbugs or their damage early next summer. Treat your plants with garden insecticide (click for sources) when you first spot them.