Thrips? Whiteflies? Aphids? How to kill them

Ohiofem(6a Ohio)February 23, 2012

For the first time in more than 20 years of growing tomatoes, my plants were attacked by insects I had never seen before. These bugs were on only one plant, and I was able to cut way down on them with neem oil, but they kept coming back. The plant wilted from the top and showed some signs of disease, but it did survive until frost. The fruits were not affected although I think the yield was lower than it should have been. Just recently in planning for this summer I learned about thrips and how they can spread tomato spotted wilt virus. I thought the pests were white flies and aphids, and the eggs were from Colorado potato beetles. But now, I wonder if I had thrips. Can anyone identify these guys and tell me how to keep them from attacking my plants this summer?

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Pink guys are aphids. Squish them. The white things are cast aphid skins & not a problem.

Next image shows caterpillar eggs. Squish them.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 8:34PM
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jean001a is correct. The white things mixed in with the aphids are the skins that they molt.
Thrips are slender and very quick, and you will rarely see them unless you know what you are looking for. If you have them, blow your breath into the growing points of the stems and see if the thrips scurry about. Same for the flowers... just blow into the flowers and see if you see them scurrying around.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Thank you! I love Gardenweb. I was getting a little freaked out about viruses spread by thrips. Aphids I can deal with. Blast them with water! Squish them! Can't wait for summer.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 10:34PM
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spinosad is your answer

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I really like spinosad. I bought it for colorado potato beetles, but it also seemed effective against cabbage worms and several other insects.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 6:56PM
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