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tiny white 'bugs' on tomato plants

Last spring, right before I was ready to transplant the many tomato plants to the garden, I noticed these tiny white, soft, tiny 'things' on the plant itself. Most of them were near the newer growth, but others were just everywhere. I thought they were bug droppings until I could just 'feel' they were alive. Does anyone know what they could be and/or what can be done to prevent them from returning?

These 'things' also showed up in the large tomato plants during the summer. I used Safer's Soap on them then, but the buggers returned later in the season. Frustrating, to say the least.

I have yellow sticky traps around my plants where the tomato seeds will be planted, but is this enough?

Merry Christmas to you all tomorrow, and may all of your gardens be very productive in 2008. Cool
 

............................................................................

"Leave Room in Your Garden for Angels to Dance."

West of Denver           Zone 5b

Looks like aphids, keep spraying with insecticidle soap til no longer a problem. the
soap works on contact, so must spray again.
 
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Could be Aphids, although Aphids on Tomatoes are generally green or they could be mealy bugs. The first thing to do with infected plants is just use a sharp water spray to knock the wee buggers off the plants and be sure the soil the plants are growing in is good and healthy so the plants are strong and healthy and can withstand insect pest invasions better. Insecticidal soaps may be necessary of the sharp water spray does not help, but since that is a broad spectrum poison it should not be the first weapon in your arsenal. Neem Oil products are a step up in toxicity and could be used if necessary, but should not be the first item to be used. Things like pyrethrin based dusts should be an item of last resort.
Pest control needs to be started last growing season by making the soil plants grow in healthier, looking into companion planting, using physical barriers when possible and resorting to poisons of any kind only as a last resort since any of the poisons you use will also kill beneficial insects that can help control the pests.
 

The sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, it is brown knees.

West central Michigan along the lakeshore.

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Kimm, good post, although it does sound like aphids, mine were a white-ish purple color, and I used dawn dish soap, and keep at it, hit em 2 or 3 more times in a week or so.....Some years I have them, some years I dont.
Why is that?
 
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Thanks for these replies on aphids. I'm just not sure these things were aphids - can't find them in the 'what is this bug?' section. I just want to them keep them away this year. Could they have come from the peat pellets I planted the tomato seeds in? If so, would freezing the pellets before use be a possiblility (before I added water, of course)?

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Hope your holidays were enjoyable with family and friends.
 

............................................................................

"Leave Room in Your Garden for Angels to Dance."

West of Denver           Zone 5b

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I would have thought this sounds like white spot. I have heard that dill is a great companion plant for tomatoes to ward off most nasties that like to mnch on them and cause a nuisance.
Tessa
 
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While Aphids do come in many colors their shape will be the same so if these did not look similar to what a web site shows Aphids looking like, regardless of color, they probably were not Aphids. They may have come in with the peat pellets, not terribly likely bit possible, but freezing them will not do harm to the insect eggs that might be there, boiling water may well however.
However, if these were on the seedlings, were cleaned off, and reappeared on the plants in the garden that would strongly suggest some other source. What plants were growing near the seedlings at the time they were infested and what plants were growing nearby in the garden?
 

The sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, it is brown knees.

West central Michigan along the lakeshore.

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Could they possibly have been WHITEFLIES?

If so, then those yellow-sticky traps, insecticidal soaps or sharp sprays of water may be a good triple-play against keeping their numbers down. Personally, I've found success controlling them by wiping the underside of the leaves w/a soft, thin cloth that's got a bit of alcohol on it. Of course, this isn't very practical - and can be quite tedious - if they're on more than just a few leaves and/or if it's a larger plant.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [i]"To Live Is Not Just To Survive, But To Thrive With Passion, Compassion, Humor & Style."[/i] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Blogs: [URL=http://www.lindafrank.blogspot.com] GardenzOwn [/URL] [URL=http://www.OurGardenEarth.blogspot.com]OurGardenEarth[/URL]
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Kimm1 - only the tomato plants - no others - were under the lights when I saw the white bugs, so that's why I thought it may have had something to do with the peat pellets. Never have had a problem with the pellets before, but this may have been a bad batch (?). Also, the bugs never seemed to move - just congregate ?!

In the garden closer to the tomatoes were planted pole beans and summer squash. Neither of these had the white bugs. (and no squash bugs either.) Smiler

Gardenz - in looking at the picture you provided, my white bugs looked very similar though they seemed to congregate closer to the newer growth/ends of the leaves or close to the main stem. Weird buggers. Thanks for the picture.

The Safer's soap seemed to keep them at bay for the hotter times in the summer, but when the middle of August came, the bugs reappeared. I guess I'll put out more sticky traps and see if this helps. Thanks for all of the information.
 

............................................................................

"Leave Room in Your Garden for Angels to Dance."

West of Denver           Zone 5b

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