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Tiny Red Spiders on Tomato Plants


I have 3 heirloom plants in a cedar planter which are getting very big and after a wet, cold spring are finally beginning to fruit!!! [Edited due o first response -- I live in New York City]

HOWEVER- Today, as I was looking at the plants I noticed alot of tiny red spiders crawling all over my planter box. I have not noticed them on the plants yet, and I trimmed any leaves which were touching the ground, but I am not sure if they pose a threat to my plants. I am also growing some Basil and Rosemary in the same planter - not sure if the spiders are from one of those, instead...

SO FAR - I have NOT used any pesticides on my plants. I am not neccesarilly looking to go all organic, so if these spiders pose a problem, I will use the most effective method to eliminate them.
ALSO - any recommendations on preventitive pesticides??


Last edited by tcy1227 on Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Growing on my rooftop deck in NYC

Super Green Thumb
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Welcome to Helpful Gardener!

Almost ALL spiders will HELP you with the pests. Spiders catch and eat many insects which are out to "get" our garden plants.

Not being sure what area of the US you're in, I can't get much more specific than that; many insects live only in specific regions of the continent.

But please don't kill the spiders, esp. not with pesticides; these chemicals will also poison your plants, kill any earthworms or other subterranean life, and kill beneficial insects which try to pollinate your tomato flowers. :(

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

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Sorry - I live in New York City and the plants are in a cedar box on my 6th floor rooftop deck...
Growing on my rooftop deck in NYC

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I wouldn't worry. I've never met a spider who was interested in vegetation, other than for something to build its house in, lol :D
You have enemies? Good! That means you've
stood up for something, at some point in your life.

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ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I hate spiders and just reading this post gives me the heebee geebees! (sp?)

I see a spider and I run and scream like a little girl... At least I am man enough to admit that I am not man enough!

Ok, get it together...

My thoughts are if you don't notice any issues like holes or spots on your plants or eggs etc then I would leave them be. However there are types of spiders that feed off of the sugars in plants and especially vine plants that are fruit producing.

I learned in Argentina that they have a red spider that does this to grape vines by sucking sugars from the newly developing shoots. Their organic approach is to introduce a variety of white spider that eats the red spider and leaves the plants alone.

I would never add more spiders to anything personally but just an idea. A creepy one but an idea none the less.

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When you say tiny, do you mean tiny? My suspicion is that they are red spider mites. Check underneath the leaves of your plants for fine webbing. Also check for tiny white spots and yellowing leaves, especially on young leaves. If I remember correctly, there are two kinds of red spider mites -- one kind sucks on plant juices and the other kind EATS the pesky kind (you see the dilemma :roll:). Red spider mites like dry conditions, so finely misting your plants to raise humidity might help. Also, if you can find some real spiders, you might want to put them in your planters to go on guard duty. :wink:

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i may have spider mites too. i sprayed and they are still there. anyone have a picture?

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