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I have had trouble with three of my tomato plants this year - all next to eachother. They started showing signs of deteriorating a few weeks ago with small holes in the leaves and shriveling browning leaves - they almost looked dirty. Growth slowed to varying degrees. Someone on this forum suggested mites but I could find any. Today when I looked I could see lots of little bugs on the bottom of the leaves. They were small but easy to see with the naked eye. Some were greenish and small, some were whitish or brownish and bigger. Could these be mites? Reading online it sounds like mites are much smaller? I'm just trying to figure out best treatment. They are three plants I really don't want to lose. I have pruned aggressively but need to figure out next steps. Thx for any help you all may have.

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Posts: 29265
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Mites?????

Just guessing from color description, they sound like aphids. But they would not be related to/responsible for the holes, browning, or shriveling.

As the most basic treatment, just squish them or pick them off with your fingers. Any time you find a bug that you are pretty sure is eating/damaging your plant, pick off/squish, retain sample or take pictures, get a definitive ID. :wink:

Greener Thumb
Posts: 769
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:00 pm
Location: Virginia, The mountains Zone 6a/6b

Re: Mites?????

Definitely sounds like aphids...I battle them from time to time on my maters and heavy infestations can make the leaves sort of shrivel/curl....

If you're not opposed to chemicals, a permethrin based spray like bonide eight works super well.

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Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:53 am
Location: SW Idaho

Re: Mites?????

Sound like aphids to me :( ....this has been the worst year I have ever had for aphids. Been battling them everywhere, plum trees, tomatoes, rhubarb. Places/plants that have never been bothered before. Hand picking them, water spray and Safer's soap has helped

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Mites?????

The holes in the leaves could be flea beetles.

I usually do get spider mites at this time of the year. They are not easy to see, but the underside of the leaf will show bronzing and upper surface of the leaf will look like something has been scratching it. The webbing comes later. The spider mites show up in hot dusty weather. There are natural controls that will be killed by sprays. Hosing off the foliage with water dislodges them.

Healthy plants are poor targets for pests and disease. Keep plants well watered and fed. Hose dust of leaves and spray jets of water under leaves to dislodge pests.

Plant a diversified landscape and plants that provide nectar and attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, hover flies and parasitic wasps. Plants in the parsley family, dill, fennel, parsley, caraway with umbrel flowers. Disc flowers like sunflowers, marigolds, zinnia, calendula, cosmos and others also attract beneficial insects. Plants like sweet alyssum, false heather, etc provide nectar. A shallow dish of water filled with pebbles provide water. Pesticides will kill beneficial insects so you will need to give the beneficial insects a chance to control pests and avoid spraying. Some damage needs to tolerated.

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Mites?????

Mites wash off with water. Spray plants with the garden hose it knocks them off.

There is no such thing as a hose pipe.

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