an infestation of tiny, white bugs underside of my pepper leaves

sandpebbles(7)June 11, 2009

hello. i found massive amounts of tiny, white sand-like sized bugs (i'm assuming) underside the leaves of my pepper plants and none on my tomatoes. i sprayed them off with insectiside soap and an all in one (bacterial/fungus/and insectiside soap combo) in two sittings. i plan to keep spraying until i see no more. my question is, what are these? and has anyone had any experience with these. what is the best way to get rid of them and most important, prevent them from ever coming back. my plants are kept outside in containers. these, what i'm assuming are bugs don't move. yet they seem to have attach themselves to over 80% of each plant, not to mention making holes in my leaves as they go. any ideas? any response would be welcomed. thank you.

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juicyj(Zone 6)

could they be aphids?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 3:44AM
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Not if they are making holes. Pictures?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 5:56AM
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Hi sandpebbles,
What is not moving is probably insect eggs.
What is making the pin holes is an adult insect.
If you don't have too many pepper plants & the plants are robust you might be able to "wash" the eggs off. Get some fabric with minor coarseness, like cheese cloth or worn out tee shirt scrap, that you can soak & softly scrub the eggs off.
Plants can be handled to clean & rebound if try to avoid crushing their parts, just like a baby.
Eggs are often able to resist pest control treatment & then you need a hatched bug to emerge before attack is effective. Those eggs washed onto the ground will probably dehydrate to death, when no longer sheltered under the leaf; your live opponents will be less.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 10:20AM
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thanks all for your responses. i don't have pictures because i spent most of the last two days using the jet stream option from the sprayer to hose them down. insect eggs make sense. i'm glad to hear that the eggs should dehydrate and die out. they were like a carpet on the underside of my leaves. i do have quite a few plants however (a beginner's enthusiasm, lol). it's interesting that these eggs were only affixed to my peppers and not my tomato plants. my plants are very healthy otherwise. i did have a problem with yellowing of leaves which was mostly corrected with decreased watering and a variety of different fertilizers. most of my plants are starting to show signs of peppers if not flowers with alot of growth. a crucial stage. gringojay, what insect do you think it might be? i haven't seen any insects. not sure i would be able to tell the difference between an aphid or some type of beetle that is suppose to attack peppers. it's difficult to find pictures on the internet. i discovered this infestation when re-arranging plants to allow for air circulation. hence, recent tranplantation/ sizing up within the last 3-4 wks. some of my plants are from seed and some bought. the plants most effected were bought from local garden centers. not sure that means anything. i had to mindful of my stomach when cleaning the lower leaves in particular as they had the largest infestation. i have to say that the sun and the rain has been a blessing to these plants. their immediate response has been exciting. it's like watching them rejoice. what can i do to let these invisible insects know they're not welcome.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 1:19PM
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Hi sandpebbles,
It is always a guess about problems from afar.
My impression is the insect might easily be the whitefly.
They take a while to come to growers' attention & seem to explode in numbers, while we are just beginning to admire the crop.
Whitefly progeny do make pin prick holes in the leaf when they feed on the "sugar" in there.
If you see a black mold appearing that is the next stage of damage, growing on the "honeydew" whiteflies excrete.
Check your melons & cucumbers for whitefly too.
Your tomatoes may be holding them at bay, because many kinds of plants' leaves can secrete chemicals certain insects find somewhat repulsive.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:53PM
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i appreciate your many responses gringojay.
after reading your post, i took a leaf to a local nursery (some of my leaves now have tiny black spots) and ofcourse they sold me sprays that covers aphids, whiteflies and mites. what was curious, as i showed him the sample leaf, the black spots were now on the paper towel as tiny black beads and a tiny red moving thing which he identified as a mite. he asked if i had seen ladybugs which i have, hence, aphids. as it turns out, there's a product called bon-neem (an insectiside soap with neem oil) which covers aphids, mites and whitefly. i think you called it well, because i saw a hole on one of my sugar baby watermelon plants. my tomatoes remains unaffected. my latest problem. looks like i'm in the fight of my life. i'm amazed so much occured right under my nose. i have spent so much time with my babies on a daily basis. lol, some has said that i need to let them breathe. this is pretty unbelievable stuff. anyway, a special thanks gringojay.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 9:08PM
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insect larvae will knock out peppers
use mild natural insecticide, also wash down
before using.
at a glance I thought you had whiteflies, they decimate leaves like that, but its larvae feeding off your buds.
easy fix, use the organic insecticide you can get at a feed store
I even saw some at walmart.
good luck and remember, dont panic
organzmo_peppers (on eby as well)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 11:37AM
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thank you for your kind words organzmo. :) ofcourse you know i'm panicked. i'm thinking of ordering ladybugs but then i think, what will show up to take care of the ladybugs. lol. ideally, i would love something to knock them out in one shot. a safe systemic. haven't found that yet. now my next concern is that while most of my peppers are flowering and fruiting, i haven't seen a flower from my prized bhut jolokias. hope these events won't stunt their fruiting. i'm looking forward to tasting a fresh jolokia. :) surely worthy of overwintering.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 11:07PM
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I had the same thing, but on tops of my leaves. A liberal spraying of Sevin seems to have handled it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 10:34PM
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hello elchupacabra. just as i got rid of the yellow leaves, i discovered this horrible infestation under my pepper leaves. i tried every organic product i could find with little to no affect. in my frustration, i ordered a garden sample pack of ladybugs, green lacewing larvae, a type of worm for soil management and another insect for whiteflies. which i will be releasing them tonight. my last attempt of organic gardening via soil :) as it turns out, the white things were eggs, followed by tons of tiny black pearls that turned out to be spider mites (some red included). a by product from the many pine trees in my backyard. looks like next year, i will have to add the release of special spiders as part of my gardening prep. soil or otherwise. no worries (as i'm now numb), often times first lessons tend to come at cost.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 11:46AM
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I have a similar problem with one of my pepper plants. By chance did the underside of your leaves look like the pictures in the attached link? Does anyone know what is going on with my plant...see attached pictures?

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:30AM
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unfortunately yes...a horrible flashback. as it turns out, those are eggs. insecticide soap was helpful in washing them off. the soap dehydrates them (see previous blogger). what's most important is to find out which insect is laying those eggs. i went from white pellets (eggs) to tiny black bead-like structures. careful, this gets out of hand quickly. after multiple, daily sprays (which can get expensive) i took some leaves in to various nurseries. interesting, the black beads transferred to my white paper towel and they/ i was able to suddenly see tiny red spiders/ mites moving around. they all advised chemicals (sevin or malathlion) and although i purchased them as a backup, decided to make one more try and ordered a garden pack of beneficial insects (for full coverage. it was that bad. nearly lost several plants). most of the ladybugs flew off, however some stayed and worked on the mites allowing the greenwing larvae to hatch. the nemotodes were watered in and the beneficials for whiteflies worked it's magic (it was like a domino effect). i have to say, that i spent much less in comparison for the multitude of sprays i invested in and "all" of my plants look great (i was sure i would lose my rarest). of all the insects, the green lace larvae was the most effective. they're still flying around the plants. they're tiny and non-bothersome. take that from a no bug tolerance type person. it's best to try the beneficials first as chemicals kill good and bad insects and will inhibit the effectiveness of the beneficials. you'll be amazed. i was. as it stands, the chemicals are still stored in my garage, unopened. here's the link i ordered from. they were realiable and guaranteed delivery of live beneficials. i found them to also have the best prices. good luck and let us know how it works out.

great site by the way.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 11:05PM
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