red aphid-like bugs on my tomato plants

philly_gardenerJune 13, 2006

This morning I saw some red bugs that look like green aphids except the color is red. Are they bad for my tomato plants? They seem to be only on the stems and leaves.

Do I need to kill them? How to kill them the safe way (environmental-friendly)?

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Aphids come in various colors. Likely your red fellows are aphids.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 2:02PM
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I've got the same problem as you...found out they're called Potato Aphids...and can be pretty destructive in high numbers.

Apparently Thyme oil and Pyrethrins are the most effective organic treatments.

I've got a post over in the regular Tomatoes forum...just do a search for potato aphids if you can't find it.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 12:40AM
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torquill(z9/sunset15 CA)

I've had aphids on my tomatoes this year for the first time I can remember. I let them be and they gradually vanished... if there's only a small number, I wouldn't worry about them. If there's a larger number, insecticidal soap ("Safer") is enough to zap them.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 4:07PM
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I have three tomato plants, one Big Boy, one Cherokee Purple, and one Hybrid. The hybrid has resisted the aphids the best, but I can't seem to fight them off of the Cherokee Purple. I have many fruits on the Hybrid and the Big Boy but the Aphids have eaten the buds off the Purple. It is getting very frustrating, especially since the Cherokee Purple has the best tasting fruit. (in my miniscule opinion). I have tried dish soap and a jet of water. They don't seem to go away. What is the best insecticidal soap? There is a Lowes, and a Home Depot here. The guys at Lowes said that anything I would use would render the fruit inedible. My father reccommended the dish soap. Is there anything else I can try?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 10:10PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


You need lady bugs. The lady bug larvae will devour the aphids. I don't know exactly where you would find lady bugs in Norman, but here in southern Oklahoma, as well as in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where I lived before moving here, most nurseries have them in the spring and summer, and some of the large home improvement stores have them as well. You also can order them on line.

Lady bugs will take a few weeks to eat up the aphids, but once you have an established lady bug population, they will take care of the aphids for you forever.

After you release the adult lady bugs (which also eat the aphids), they will reproduce and the larvae will look like little alligator-type critters. The larvae will eat aphids till there are no aphids left. Lady bugs are the least toxic aphid solution.

Good luck,


Here is a link that might be useful: Lady Bug info

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 2:11PM
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I was just coming here to post about these same pests. is insecticidal soap safe to use around the fruit, or is it something stickly for before they fruit?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 4:51PM
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