Help! Orange bugs eating my peaches and tomatoes!
I live near San Antonio, TX.
I got a good look at "them" (namely, the creatures devouring my peaches AND my tomatoes!)
They are not small like mites -- I have never seen them before, so I have a hard time describing them.
I have done PLENTY of googling, and couldn't find anything. I even looked at several "picture guides" to fruit/vegetable pests.
It is not the peach borer, and it is not a mite of any kind. That I am certain of.
Here is my description:
They are bright orange (with black parts as well) and they move rather slowly. They have 2 sections, which are more or less fused into one main piece -- though the head sits higher than the rest of their body. Their body is a little longer than the capital "I" on your keyboard. They have good-sized legs, and they like to stand on tomatoes and peaches to suck the contents, it seems. When they are on a fruit, they seem to "ride high" like a spider would -- not "low" like an ant, beetle, etc.
Their "butt" section seems to have several holes and/or bristles around the holes -- my imagination might be getting carried away, but I expect them to secrete something like nectar out those holes. This part is mostly my imagination though, as I really can't see too much detail.
Here's another important detail: I'm in south Texas, and I've never seen these insects before! And this is my 2nd year gardening here. (Though my peach tree was the first thing I planted -- Feb. 2005) Just to give you all the information, this is the first year I've had ANY peaches.
Anyhow, since I am trying out so many new vegetables (and fruits), it's hard to pinpoint what these pests were first attracted to (though I suspect the peaches). I grew tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, corn, and cantaloupe last summer. I grew cauliflower, cabbage, beans, peas, carrots, potatoes, spinach, and onions last fall/winter.
This year I am trying cilantro, dill, strawberries, blackberries, radishes, okra, and peanuts.
I neglected to plant Marigolds this year, though I know they repel some pests. But that is about the extent of my organic pest control knowledge! I have so much to learn about gardening, and organic gardening in particular. I want to be as natural as possible, but there is SO much to learn it seems.
If anyone could lead me in the right direction on identifying these pests I would much appreciate it.