Please help ID tiny white specks on all plants in greenhouse

ILauraMMay 11, 2011

I have tomato, pepper, eggplant, and herb seedlings in my greenhouse, and I just noticed what seem to be tiny white specks all over the plants. No group of plants is more affected/less affected than the others. Absolutely every variety, from tomatoes to nasturtium to oregano to basil, suddenly have these white specks.

It seems this happened within just a few days, and there are thousands, if not millions of tiny, dust-like white specks evenly spaced on the plants throughout the greenhouse. The leaves show no signs of insect damage, and these white specs can be rubbed off with my finger. Under 30X magnification, they look white, oval, fairly evenly sized, and many of them, but not all, seem to have a dark line across the midline of the oval. Most of these specks are evenly spaced across the top surface of the plants, but there are some on the undersides of the leaves also. Occassionally, there is a cluster of 20 or so specks (in an oval cluster, not in a ring or line), but mostly they are single specks evenly spaced apart about 5mm or so across the entire surface of all of the plants. It looks as if someone sprayed dust all over, there are so many. I regularly examine the plants carefully but I've found no evidence of adult or juvenile insects. The greenhouse is open during the day, and insects can come and go. I use only organic methods.

I would greatly appreciate any help or ideas. I cannot imagine an insect that can lay eggs at the rate these must have been layed if they are eggs. It looks almost like dust that fell on the plants, but careful inspection seems to indicate there are specks on lower, covered leaves as well as top leaves. Newer foliage does not seem to be more/less affected than older leaves.

We have had very windy days the past few days, and I wonder if this could be pollen and the clusters are where there was a droplet of water, or if this is the beginning of some gigantic insect infestation.

Do you think this is insect eggs or maybe pollen or possibly fungus spores? I have researched online and found no eggs that look similarly. Thanks so much for your help.

Image link:

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Before I reached the bottom of your post, I was thinking pollen or dust. How is the greenhouse ventilated?


    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 6:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you tj,

The greenhouse is very simple, a temporary structure of PVC and greenhouse plastic, with two doors on each end. To ventilate, I just open the doors enough to maintain the temp, so it is not protected from insects or dust. Does this make you think it is pollen?

I thought it would be easy to test this hypothesis, but it is currently and has been raining steadily for 24 hours here, so I cannot check plants in the yard to see if they are also covered in these specks.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 7:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

1. Happened quickly
2. Appeared on everything
3. Wipes off easily

Seems like pollen or dust to me. Wash it it off and see what happens.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 8:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dan Staley

I would magnify and see what they are, personally.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 4:56PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
yellow raised spots/bumps on tomatillo leaves
Hi guys, I've got some tomatillo plants that are developing...
Treating tomato plants with dishwashing soap
This is my first time here, so i hope i am following...
Hibiscus plant has brown growths on stem
So, I believe this is a hibiscus plant, although it...
problem with skunk cabbage
My Eastern skunk cabbages aren't doing so well. I believe...
Help! My Coleus Has Yellowing, Dying Leaves
I have an unknown variety of coleus; spent last summer...
Sponsored Products
Grazing Ponies Giclee - MULTI COLORS
$245.00 | Horchow
Elk Lighting 6H in. Love Live Laugh - Set of 3 - 87-1708
$58.00 | Hayneedle
Aegis Three Arms Chandelier by Hubbardton Forge
$940.00 | Lumens
Henri Studio Small Grapevine Cast Stone Bird Bath
Lamps Plus
Battery-operated Flameless Outdoor Candles - 3-1/4" dia. X 9"H
$24.95 | FRONTGATE
Arteriors Home - Joni Lamp - 46629-154
Great Furniture Deal
Chrome Triple Exposed Traditional Thermostatic Shower Faucet Valve
Hudson Reed
Cierro Opal Three-Light Round Pendant
$535.50 | Bellacor
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™