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Author Topic: White bug on Tomato Leaf  (Read 7878 times)
mamabear
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Posts: 4


« on: July 10, 2006, 03:34:04 PM »

Hi everyone...I am a newbie gardener and know nothing about gardening....but after reading all this exciting stuff on this forum I finally bought my earthbox.  3 weeks ago I planted two tomato plants...1 celebrity and 1 heirloom.  They were about 12 inches tall, and below the extension rod.  The second day after I planted the celebrity I had a tomato!!  Cheesy  After 3 weeks I have 4 celebrity tomatos and 1 heirloom, and lots of blossoms and they are taller than the extension rod now.  I live in Orange County california. 

My problem is I noticed tiny transclucent white specks, they look like grains of salt on the black cover under the heirloom.  They look like they are coming off the leaf of the heirloom.  I sprayed it with water hoping to dislodge the bug or whatever it is...but the next day it is back in the same spot.  I think there may be some little brown bugs with wings...The most noticeable thing is the white grains of salt thing though...Is this an aphid? How do I get rid of it? Should I buy pesticide at the garden store? If so, what type? Or should I spray with dishwashing soap? If so, at what concentration?

I am clueless and appreciate all your help...thank you. 
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Steve
The EarthBox
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Posts: 799


Northeast PA, zone 5


« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2006, 04:07:53 PM »

Sounds like it might be aphids.  Tomatoes aren't their favorite crop choice, but they're certainly a possibility.  Here's a picture of aphids on the underside of a pepper leaf (the adults are only a few millimeters long), and another picture of their white "droppings", which are actually shed exoskeletons as they grow.  Do these look like what you are experiencing?

The first photo is the shed parts, the second is the aphids (sorry about the photography!)  Sad


* Picture 002.jpg (102.63 KB, 600x450 - viewed 850 times.)

* Picture 003.jpg (91.44 KB, 450x600 - viewed 809 times.)
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Steve
EarthBox
Trying2Plant
Jr. Member
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Posts: 44


« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2006, 08:29:13 PM »

Hey, Steve, I've got those on my pepper plants!  They're in the same EB as a nice tomato plant.  Can I kill the aphids on the pepper plant with a pesticide, or should I yank that plant in order to try to prevent spread of aphids to the tomato? 
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ioiosotwig
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Posts: 608


N. Illinois USA - Zone 5


« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2006, 11:26:49 PM »

Have you tried insecticidal soap solution instead of going right to the big artillery? Smiley

It only kills on contact and once dry, it is harmless...  GoodBye Aphids!

Something to read:
http://www.homestead.com/ipmofalaska/files/soap.html
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mamabear
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Posts: 4


« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2006, 12:03:19 AM »

Steve thanks for the photos. My "bugs" dont look like the aphids, they really do look like grains of salt. But I am pretty sure they are a type of bug (or the skins of a bug) as they are clustered under one leaf, and I saw a white bug type thing fly away. But I didnt get a good look of the fllying one. 

To the PP who recommended the insecticidal soap, what brand do you recommend?

Does anyone know what type of bug these salt things are and how to get rid of it? Thank you...

I am attaching photos, but they didnt show up too great. In the first shot the salt things on the black cover are what I am talking about.  In the second shot, it is on the plant itself.





* 800.JPG (91.14 KB, 800x600 - viewed 654 times.)
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mamabear
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Posts: 4


« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2006, 12:05:13 AM »

The file was too large ...here is the second photo. If you click on these photos you can see them larger. 



* 1000.JPG (138.34 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 907 times.)
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Trying2Plant
Jr. Member
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Posts: 44


« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2006, 08:38:06 AM »

ioio, Yes, I have soaped those poor plants to death.  They are squeeky clean.  Have been spraying them weekly since the beginning, and for the last week or so I've sprayed every day.  And yes, I'm spraying under the leaves.  It's just that there are so many aphids that I can't get them stopped.  Plus, the blossoms have all been gone from the peppers for several weeks now, and the plants have stopped growing much.  Needless to say there are no baby peppers on there either.  I don't know if the aphids alone are doing this--I saw a giant green bug (cicada?) on there yesterday--but the plant seems like it's going nowhere.  And I feel like having all those aphids around sort of endangers the rest of my EB garden.  So I think I'll trash the pepper plants today, much as I hate to.
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Steve
The EarthBox
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Posts: 799


Northeast PA, zone 5


« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2006, 04:38:20 PM »

Fortunately, aphids are relatively plant specific.  Their favorit plant is without a doubt peppers.  They also like eggplant and basil.  We seldom see them on tomatoes, even though it is reported that they are also a tomato pest.  I also have found them on my petunias

Aphids are tricky because they like to hang out on the underside of leaves.  And in large enough numbers, they can destroy the buds and eventually kill the plants.  The best maintenance is weekly spraying of your favorite insecticide, making sure you get to the underside of the leaves.  If you only have a few plants with them, you can also kill them by squshing them individually.  It takes a bit of time, but will certainly keep them under control.
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Steve
EarthBox
Trying2Plant
Jr. Member
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Posts: 44


« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2006, 08:34:26 PM »

I ended up pulling the pepper plants that were covered with aphids.  Just felt like I didn't really have a choice, since the insecticide wasn't working. 

I took leaves from the adjacent tomato plant (in the same EB) to the Master Gardener, and they found evidence of aphids, spidermites, and early blight.  So they suggested that I move to a stronger insecticide instead of the Safer soap thing I've been using.  I'm mulling it over right now.
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mjb8743
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Posts: 6868


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2006, 12:35:26 PM »

Hi all,

Just a quick comment on pest control ( and the key word here is CONTROL). It's a fact of life that the bugs will show up, but keep in mind that there are GOOD bugs too. I do think killing the plant is a little harsh... and temporary. May as well live in a sterile environment with plastic flowers.

The best way of dealing with the pests is to try to control the amount of infestation, and not poison everything else in the process. Hand picking/crushing works in the beginning. Where aphids are concerned, the next step would be a good, strong blast with the hose and literally blow 'em off the plant. Meanwhile, Nature may step in and give you Lacewings and Ladybugs with their voracious appetites for aphids. Lastly,  Cry , there is Rotenone (a plant-based pesticide that will kill most anything, but breaks downs quickly in the environment).

Tomato hornworms can do a lot of damage, but can be hand picked as soon as you learn how to spot them in all that greenery... BUT... if you see little white 'grains of rice' hanging on one, leave it alone. That's eggs a tiny wasp laid on the caterpillar, and the critter will die very soon.
I usually have on hand a coffee can half full of water, and a 1/2" layer of motor oil on top. I just drop or knock the bugs in and that's the end of them.

Colorado Potato Beetles just love eggplant. They start out as little yellow egg clusters under the leaves, then hatch into slimey-looking red blobs.. these will grow a bit, then at some point become the beetle that has a yellow body with black stripes lengthwise. Try to get the beetles as soon as you spot them before they can lay too many eggs.

Of special note... Ladybug larve are the ugliest looking critters, and I nearly killed them before I found out they were the infantry come to help. I would suggest reading up on the common garden pests and friends before going into an absolute panic.

Mickie
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
Trishkie
Sr. Member
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Posts: 130

No. California Zone 9 (Sunset zone 14)


« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2006, 01:17:04 AM »

I have firsthand experience of nature coming to the rescue. I have rosebushes in my neglected side yard and this spring noticed an infestation of aphids. I thought to myself I'd get some insectiside and spray that weekend. This is one case where procrastination paid off as it was probably 2 weeks before I ventured to that area of the yard and noticed a LOT of ladybugs. I let nature take its course and viola! the nasty aphids were devoured over the next couple of weeks.

Granted, this is flowers and not your food, so I totally understand those that don't want to wait nature out to resolve the problem. However, many nurseries and garden centers sell ladybugs that you can introduce into your garden. I think they suggest you release them in the evening (theory being they don't travel much at night), but I'd verify with the instructions. If they find food right there, they probably won't travel too far.

Wishing you all the best on a pest-free - or as near to it as possible - garden. Smiley
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