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Please help ID tiny white specks on all plants in greenhouse

Posted by ILauraM CO (My Page) on
Wed, May 11, 11 at 17:40

I have tomato, pepper, eggplant, and herb seedlings in my greenhouse, and I just noticed what seem to be tiny white specks all over the plants. No group of plants is more affected/less affected than the others. Absolutely every variety, from tomatoes to nasturtium to oregano to basil, suddenly have these white specks.

It seems this happened within just a few days, and there are thousands, if not millions of tiny, dust-like white specks evenly spaced on the plants throughout the greenhouse. The leaves show no signs of insect damage, and these white specs can be rubbed off with my finger. Under 30X magnification, they look white, oval, fairly evenly sized, and many of them, but not all, seem to have a dark line across the midline of the oval. Most of these specks are evenly spaced across the top surface of the plants, but there are some on the undersides of the leaves also. Occassionally, there is a cluster of 20 or so specks (in an oval cluster, not in a ring or line), but mostly they are single specks evenly spaced apart about 5mm or so across the entire surface of all of the plants. It looks as if someone sprayed dust all over, there are so many. I regularly examine the plants carefully but I've found no evidence of adult or juvenile insects. The greenhouse is open during the day, and insects can come and go. I use only organic methods.

I would greatly appreciate any help or ideas. I cannot imagine an insect that can lay eggs at the rate these must have been layed if they are eggs. It looks almost like dust that fell on the plants, but careful inspection seems to indicate there are specks on lower, covered leaves as well as top leaves. Newer foliage does not seem to be more/less affected than older leaves.

We have had very windy days the past few days, and I wonder if this could be pollen and the clusters are where there was a droplet of water, or if this is the beginning of some gigantic insect infestation.

Do you think this is insect eggs or maybe pollen or possibly fungus spores? I have researched online and found no eggs that look similarly. Thanks so much for your help.

Image link: Please help ID tiny white specks on all plants in greenhouse (38 k)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Please help ID tiny white specks on all plants in greenhouse

Before I reached the bottom of your post, I was thinking pollen or dust. How is the greenhouse ventilated?


RE: Please help ID tiny white specks on all plants in greenhouse

Thank you tj,

The greenhouse is very simple, a temporary structure of PVC and greenhouse plastic, with two doors on each end. To ventilate, I just open the doors enough to maintain the temp, so it is not protected from insects or dust. Does this make you think it is pollen?

I thought it would be easy to test this hypothesis, but it is currently and has been raining steadily for 24 hours here, so I cannot check plants in the yard to see if they are also covered in these specks.

RE: Please help ID tiny white specks on all plants in greenhouse

1. Happened quickly
2. Appeared on everything
3. Wipes off easily

Seems like pollen or dust to me. Wash it it off and see what happens.


RE: Please help ID tiny white specks on all plants in greenhouse

I would magnify and see what they are, personally.


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