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Flat ugly bug what is this eating my tomatoes ??

Northern Michigan, MI(Zone 5a)

I found a small infestation of these bugs on my tomato plants today. They are very flat in appearance so much so that at first glance it looks like a dirt splat on the leaf. They have wings, I saw them fly after I picked one off trying to get a better look at it. Didn't bite me just flew off.

So the question is what are they and I'm thinking they're probably bad and need to be killed off...?? What do I use to do it that won't hurt my plants ??

Thanks for the info !!

~Julie =0)

Thumbnail by jab91864
The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

That's a tortoise beetle. It chews on leaves.
http://bugguide.net/node/view/3021
http://www.uvm.edu/extension/publications/el/el239.htm




edited to add links

This message was edited Jun 21, 2006 9:41 PM

Northern Michigan, MI(Zone 5a)

Thankyou for the info. I had just come back from finding this same bug listed in the tomato forum as a problem for someone else.

Appreciate the links very much. Now I have to find an insecticide to get rid of them but not damage my plants. I'm not real big on stuff like that but they are going to kill my plants if they keep gnawing on them .

~Julie =0)

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Read the second link. It has some suggestions.

Northern Michigan, MI(Zone 5a)

I made notes to try to find an insecticide that lists potato beetle and flea beetle on it's list of lethal to...lol. Apparently the toritoise beetle isn't a big enough problem to be listed in his own rite..

Thankyou again !!

~Julie =0)

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

You're right! It isn't a big enough problem, and in some areas it is considered beneficial because it nibbles on weeds. However, you've got the tomato eating variety, so good luck!
CJ

Griffin, GA(Zone 8a)

Tortoise beetles often munch on my sweet potatoes - though not this year as we have a drought. I think that they are pretty, so I let 'em stay. I usually don't have enough to do much damage, and many plants can take a little nibbling without being affected.

Just remember that some residual insecticides might harm bees or other pollinating critters, and that may affect the productivity of the tomatoes more than a little munching if you have a variety that needs pollinating.

My advice would be to let em be as long as they don't start expanding in number, but I don't like to spray at all unless I have to, so maybe I'm not the one to ask. If you do feel that you need to spray, I'd suggest a non-residual pyrethrin, just not near any water sources (pyrethrins are bad for fish and aquatic critters.)

Northern Michigan, MI(Zone 5a)

I've never been much for insecticides which is why I'm not all that familiar with them or have nothing on hand to use. My tomatoes are doing so well so far this year (in Michigan my season is very young yet) and I hate to have to lose them to some stupid bug.

I just came in from plucking them off ....only 13 of the lil buggers. I'm sure I missed some, my eyes aren't that great anymore...lol. And I sprayed with a soapy water solution in the hope that it will leave them with a bad taste in their mouths and move on.

~Julie =0)

This message was edited Jun 22, 2006 7:23 AM

Northern Michigan, MI(Zone 5a)

Well so far so good...I continued to pick off the bugs and squish them. Never getting more than 12-16 at a time. Picked several on Friday morning. None to find on Friday evening when I got home from work. And none today. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it appears as if the soapy water spritz and handpicking may have done the trick for me !!!

~Julie =0)

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