Red bugs on my plants?!

allie06May 22, 2012

I have these tiny reddish pinkish bugs on my tomato plants. What are these and how do I get rid of them? I would like a solution that won't be harmful to the plants so I can still eat them. They were planted about 3 weeks ago and get about 6-8 hours of sunlight. Any input is helpful! Thanks so much!

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ikea_gw

Without a more detailed description or photo, I am going to take a wild guess and say maybe you have aphids? Search for aphids images on the web. If they are indeed aphids, I generally kill them by hand since I only have a dozen tomato plants. You can also use diluted dish soap. Unless you have a huge amount of aphids, healthy tomato plants will usually outgrow them with little ill effect.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:09PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

If the bugs are red rather than reddish-pinkish, very small rather than tiny, and seriously ugly, you have the voracious leaf-munching Colorado Potato Beetle larvae.
Google Images search for Colorado Potato Beetle larvae

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:15PM
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allie06

I looked up the aphids and that is definately the bug. So a soap and water rinse should do the trick?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 7:49PM
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Julie717

I had some woolly aphids on my plants and was able to get rid of most of them by blasting them off with the water hose (just don't blast so hard you damage the plants). The few that came back I just smushed with my fingers.

Here is a good publication if you like more details:
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7404.html

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 9:05PM
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barnhardt9999(8a)

I have to disagree with everyone else for treatment. The soap is more likely to harm the plants than the aphids. No action is required. If you feel compelled to do something and must take action just knock them off with a hose.

Aphids usually come about from giving a plant too much nitrogen - lighten up on the fertilizer and they should go away. Also, if you are giving a tomato enough nitrogen to attract aphid swarms you will grow too much tomato leaf and not enough fruit. Getting you fertilizer right should be priority #1. Let the aphids go.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 9:57PM
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tracydr(9b)

Aphids spread disease. You need to treat. Blast of water, soap sprays or neem oil are good treatments.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 11:22AM
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jolj(7b/8a)

My Southern peas have aphids every year & I never add nitrogen to them. I have aphids on peas even when they do not bother any other garden plants.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 12:56AM
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