Return to the Garden Clinic Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

Posted by lucilleclifton Zone 4 (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 21, 11 at 12:38

Hello everyone,

In the tomato forum, I didn't get many responses. I'm trying here in the hopes someone can positively ID these insects and tell me whether I need to worry about killing them. I did find some on a container cherry tomato a couple of weeks ago, and it looked like they were on the leaves. The leaf I had seen them on eventually died and had to be taken off the plant. I treated the whole plant with neem oil based insecticide. Now I am seeing these red insects all over some other tomatoes in containers. They are not on the plants this time, just on the containers. But I fear they will be on the plants soon. Also, I am finding BB sized little egg globes in the soil of my plants. They burst when squeezed and seem to be mostly water filled.

Here is a photo of the insects. Tomato forum people thought either spider mites or clover mites. I do not see webs on any of my plants and these seem too large for spider mites. Any thoughts?
IMG_5744


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

Some sort of mite. If they move quickly they are predators. If they sit there, they are sucking on the plant. If you see mite damage on plants, look for mites at site of damage.

Dan


 o
RE: Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

They do move very quickly. However, when I just googled "predatory mites," it seems that most mites are supposed to be just tiny: barely visible. These are clearly large enough to capture with just a regular camera so I'm just not sure what they are. They do have four sets of legs, so some kind of mite I agree.... but what!?


 o
RE: Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

What is the extent of the mite damage on your plants, and do these mites match the mites found at the location of the mite damage?

Dan


 o
RE: Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

Red clover mites. Not a problem. Don't spin webs. Does well in moist conditions.

Stop spraying. It's NOT needed.

If the plant is damaged, came from something else.


 o
RE: Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

There had been a stem/branch on the first plant I found the mites on that was damaged, but it's possible it was something else, as that one had a leaf touching the soil. The rest of the plants do seem OK with no damage so far. I have only sprayed the one plant that one time 2 weeks ago. Weird, never knew there were clover mites. Do any others agree?


 o
RE: Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

Well, they don't look so clover mite-ish to me, but I sure would like to see more pictures of the little things. Maybe a different angle would help.

The little 'egg globes' you're finding in the soil are most likely the prills of a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote. Hard when first mixed into the soil, they absorb water through tiny micro pores and burst when the volume of water exceeds what the outer shell can hold. This is how the fertilizer is released for plant uptake. Since the prills are different sizes, fertilizer is released at different times over several months.


 o
RE: Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

I have not put Osmocote into the soil... however, I did use Miracle Gro potting mix. Maybe those are built in. I'll try to get more pics of my odd little red mite-like guys.


 o
RE: Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

Did you grow the tomatoes from seed or purchase the plants from a nursery? (Osmocote is often present in nursery/garden center plants.)

The reason I'd like to see more images is that the shape of your little things doesn't seem quite 'right' to me. However, I sure don't know what else they could be (aside from the clover mites), considering their location and behavior. They are phytophagous (plant eaters) and in large numbers could possibly cause problems for young plants. They really aren't considered a pest, though.


 o
RE: Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

I'm thinking clover mites.

tj

Here is a link that might be useful: Mite be


 o
RE: Small red insects all over container tomatoes: what are they?

The mites are nowhere to be found right now! It's been very wet and rainy, so perhaps they'll come out again if/when the sun ever does. But I'm much less worried now, thanks for all the help. I'll update photos if they come back.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Garden Clinic Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here