One of the tomato plants is dying, which is too bad, because it was my only ‘Green Zebra’– a very tasty variety. I’m not sure why the plant is dying, but I noticed yesterday that it had a bunch of dead leaves. When I took a closer look this morning, I realized those leaves were swarming with roly-polies. That seemed odd, because I didn’t know these bugs could be a garden pest. Anyway, I looked it up, and here’s the deal.
Apparently roly-polies are more formally known as pillbugs, or sowbugs (they’re closely related, and I’m not sure which of the two I have), but they’re probably not what’s killing my plant. These bugs are scavengers, so it seems likely that the leaves died first, and they showed up to take advantage of the decaying plant matter. They can be a minor pest, but apparently prefer eating dead plants to live ones. That’s my kind of bug. If you want to read more about them, here’s more info from the University of Kentucky.