treating Tomato Russet Mites (pics)

tetrazygiaApril 24, 2011

A few weeks ago, one of my tomato plants lost a central stem with its first tiny tomatoes, and then another stem. It quickly made up for those stems with new growth and a few new tomatoes, and seemed fine.

Over the past few days, though, it lost a few more stems to some wilt. Being new to the Southwest, and not ever having dealt with a wilt, I scoured the web and learned that fungal wilts are very uncommon in Arizona and most sudden tomato wilting is attributed to russet mites.

My plant didn't exhibit a bronze/russet color, but when I looked closely at the underside of the leaves, I found some of them covered with tiny gold and white specks.

I'm relieved that this is just a mite. I ran out and bought a sulphur powder, and applied it at nightfall.

Does anyone have any idea what the chances of survival for this plant would be? It was twice as big and much healthier looking just 4-5 days ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: close-up of the mites

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lubadub(5B PA)

About 3 years ago I noticed that my tomato plants looked a little sick. At that time it was mostly the lower leaves and so I thought it was premature aging. We were going on vacation and I did not have or take the time to really look closely. We came back in a week and all my plants were sick and some nearly dead. The local Farm Agent looked at some of the leaves under a magnifying apparatus he had and we saw the mites. They look like little cigars and are sort of brownish. I treated the plants but it was too late. That ended my season that year. The good news is they have not come back.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:13AM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

Last year I got hit really hard with Tomato Russet Mites and Psyllids:

After trying several products, the ONLY thing I found effective was Take Down Garden Spray:

About $15.00 at most Nurseries.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 3:33PM
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I used Bonide Garden Dust last night, only I mixed it in a spray bottle with water and covered both sides of every leaf and stem. Before mixing with water, it's 25% sulfur, 5% copper and .03% pyrethrins. I wanted to avoid using even pyrethrin, but no other product at the garden store seemed suitable.

I did a spray similar to yours, with canola oil as the only active ingredient.

I'll let you know how it goes. I don't see any additional wilting today and the plants don't look like the spray damaged them in the heat.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 9:07PM
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Anyone have any other suggestions for tomato russet mite? I had them bad last year (Love Apple Farm helped spread them) and I am trying to prevent another outbreak. About a month ago I released 1,000 amblyseius fallacis to help prevent the russet mite but I am looking for other suggestions as well. I might just do another round of predatory mites.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 2:39PM
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Ray - Did you try wettable sulpher for the russett mites? Ater a quick google and looking at multiple pix I am sure that this is what ended last year so quickly and has a foothold this year. I dont have many good local nurserys here. I am calling a few tomorrow, if no luck will order on line. Thanks, Linda

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 11:06PM
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Norcal, I have had pretty good luck treating my tomatoes for the russett mites.

I've used the powder a couple of times and think it helped, but I don't know how much because I've been doing something else:

Every evening, after work, I hose my tomato plants lightly. I'm not watering them, just wetting their leaves and stems. It's really dry here in Phoenix, so doing this somewhere else might be a problem and this might not work for others.

Also, I don't know if it's actually getting rid of the quantity of mites, if it has attracted predatory insects, if the added humidity/evaporation is cooling the plants, or if the lovely root hairs are absorbing water directly through the stems. But it has made a HUGE difference.

My plants have recovered 90%, and the only significant damage I've had has been when I have neglected to wet them.

My new problem is rats.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 1:48AM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)


I have only used the Take Down Garden Spray, after being hit bad last Season. So far, it seems to be holding them at bay - - although I discovered what looks like fine spider webs on the underside of a BTD leaf. Obviously, it was quickly removed and trashed.

So far, things are looking good:

....but as I recall, it was the first week in July last year when the plants were over-run with the mites. Needless to say, I inspect the plants daily now, and spray once per week.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 4:56PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Surely do wish I had done a search for the TRM earlier this season. I've got them pretty bad but not as bad as Raybo had in 2010. I will begin my spray program today - perhaps it will work.

Thanks one and all!!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 3:22AM
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DL My plants have recovered nicely after using sulfer powder twice. Good luck. LInda

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 1:14PM
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Has anyone idea about the best filtered cigars available in online. I am searching it for my grand uncle he smoke only cigars and I want to surprise him by giving him this filtered cigars which have red cover on the tip. I forgot the name but I need you guys to help me .

Here is a link that might be useful: Little Cigars

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 1:23AM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Hello all,

Thought I'd bring this issue back up. I had several plants infested with this Russet Mite in 2011. The plants leaves turned yellow then crunchy brown. It was end of July.

This year I am ready with a new defense. I have researched AzaMax and will begin preventative spray this week as the plants are just starting to fruit. The hydroponic community in my town is all the buzz about this stuff and they use it for hydro, greenhouse soil and outside soil and container growing. It is expensive but shopping around on e**Bay I found it for a much better price (plus free shipping). It is listed for organic production according to the label.

Just an FYI


Here is a link that might be useful: AzaMax info

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 1:40AM
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