Little black bugs

Minderella(9 Lake County FL)July 17, 2011

what pest is this eating my Tomatoes? clip this post email this post what is this?

see most clipped and recent clippings

Posted by Minderella 9 Lake County (My Page) on Sat, Jul 16, 11 at 13:47

I have some small black insect/bug eating my tomatoes. Please let me know what they are and how to get rid of them. I want to know the name of the little black bug, please. Mindy K.

This is another tomato I found, looks like some animal has started eating it.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bets(z6A S ID)

What state is your "Lake County" located in? Having that information can help someone decide it the answer they have is applicable to your area.

Those look like they are some sort of beetle. Do you have leaf damage as well? It's difficult to tell their size from your pictures, but there are several types of small beetles. Do they jump if you shake the plant? If so they are probably flea beetles, which can range in size from 1/16 to 1/8th inch long. There are over 4,000 varieties of flea beetles and I think this is the most likely culprit.

If they are irridescent and about 5/16 to almost a half inch in length, they may be a Japanese beetle. Looking at your picture, I'm not sure, since there are also many varieties of Japanese beetles, and some are black.

I don't think you have Colorado potato beetle, as they are rather distinctive in appearance since they are Yellowish-brown, oval, convex beetle about 1/2" long with 5 black longitudinal stripes on each wing cover and several black spots on the area behind the head.

Unfortunately any kind of beetle is not easy to control since they are tough little buggers.

Have you tried spraying with insecticidal soap (such as the Safer brand)? If you have just a few plants, a dust buster can be used to vaccuum them off the plants, but you'd have to be very vigilant for that to work. (Empty the vaccuum into a container of soapy water to kill them, I would do it outside because they will jump. I have heard of people who vaccuum up a little sevin dust to kill them, but I'd worry about inhaling it.) Using a trap crop can be effective, but that is probably too late to be useful this year, as would beneficial entomopathogenic nematodes, but they could really help next for year.

The article I've linked below has some good management information in it.

Betsy

Here is a link that might be useful: Flea Beetle Organic Control Options

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I see you list Florida on your personal page here. You really need to include that in your post ID. There are lots of "Lake Counties" in the country. :)

There are very few beetles that bother tomato fruit with the exception of stink bugs. So I honestly don't think the beetles you are seeing are the real culprits. They are just doing clean up work and coincidental to the damage.

Your first photo shows a tomato with severe sun scald and possible BER (blossom end rot). Did it fall off the tomato or did you pick it off?

The second pic shows damage on the green fruit from birds and tomato fruitworms. Once the damage happens the garbage collector beetles quickly move in to do their job.

Unless you actually see large numbers of the black beetles crawling all over the plant and on healthy fruit as well as damaged fruit I wouldn't worry about them. Instead focus on discovering what is really doing the damage - sun scald, tomato fruitworms, BER, etc.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Those beetles aren't the culprits. They're "cleaning up" the damage from something else.

So yes, some other animal started eating it (rats?), a secondary rot/spoilage set in (the wrinkled skin at the left in the 2nd image), then the beetles moved in.

The green tomato appears to have caterpillar damage, or slug, or snail. Go out at night, flashlight in hand, to look.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 1:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Minderella(9 Lake County FL)

I picked the tomatoes, and that is when the black bugs come out. I wasn't sure if flea beetles eat the fruit, everywhere I have look it says they eat the leaves. I picked all the tomatoes off my plants that had damage. I hope they go away.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 1:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I hope you'll keep looking for other pests. It is awfully late for growing tomatoes in Florida now anyway. The tomato season is finished there according to most Florida growers until Late September. So you may find that sun scald and delayed ripening with BER and other forms of rot are going to be chronic problems for you.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 2:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
barb_roselover_in

I thought maybe she was Lake County, IN, because I noticed something like that on my garden tomatoes. These were at the top of tomatoes latticed in and out of a metal gate which we use for support, so I hardly think it would be rats. They were about the size of a tomato seed but black and round. Can't take pictures, so I am out of luck. I remember Mrs. Stout saying in her book that she planted some for the critters and some for herself. Lots of work for that, but it does happen. Barb

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 8:50PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Supermarket Tomatoes 4
On 1-27-15 I planted 4 more seeds again from a supermarket...
garf_gw
Repotting tomato seedlings - use regular potting mix or orchid mix?
Hi All - I am going to repot some tomato seedlings...
jennieboyer
Should I grow white tomatoes?
I have Great White seeds and already sprouted some....
shijitake
Avoid Disease
Hello. My first time posting here. I guess I'm a novice...
chickencoupe
New To Me .. Big Beef
I know there are some of you who are/have been growing...
Seysonn_ 7b-WA/HZ1
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™