Teeny white specks on tomato leaves

Tonto Basin, AZ

These are on greenhouse plants in a fairly dry environment with temp 50 at night, 80s during the day.I'm guessing they are .1 or .2 mm, a good deal smaller than a cross section of the thinnest automatic pencil lead, individual specks scattered on tops of leaves. I take them to be insect eggs and brush all them off that I find. No crawling or flying bugs that I can see. Any ideas what they might be?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Could you post a picture?

Tonto Basin, AZ

After I posted, it occurred to me that for sure someone would ask - LOL!!

By the time I thought of it,I'd wiped them all off. There'll probably be more tomorrow.

Tonto Basin, AZ

I went out the next day and found no little white specks to photograph, but yesterday I had something to shoot.

This message was edited Feb 12, 2012 2:26 PM

Thumbnail by tarheel2az
Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Aphid eggs maybe? I would mix up some liquid detergent and water and spray on the leaves- upper and undersides-

Tonto Basin, AZ

I'll do that. NOw that I think about it, I haven't an aphid in the 10 years we've been here, but there's always a first time and if it's them I want to nip it in the bud, so to speak.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

That's strange to see stuff on tops of the leaves it seems like everything is always on the bottom....got me stumped.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Looks like white fly to me. When they are very young you can barely make out any wings, perhaps those are nymphs? I'd have to Google it (and then hope my ancient monitor and my po' eyeballs can see them clearly).

In a few days you may see more and more of them, some will start flitting about.

Shoe

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I was thinking the same thing, hope we are wrong. Shoe, how would you treat them? Are the leaves sticky?

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

If there are only a few, like in the pic, I'd just rub them off, smashing them. Once they get out of hand soap sprays help as do sticky traps. If it gets real bad something like pyrethrum would be needed. I've had excellent results with white fly as well as fungus knats with a product called Organocide which is mostly sesame oil, commercial strength.

You won't see any stickiness on the leaves until "the eating" begins, then the little critters start secreting dew, like aphids will.

Shoe

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I realize about the sticky leaves but the babies have to come from somewhere, I don't know their lifecycle tho. Ever since I got rid of the wild grapevine around my lower garden I haven't had a problem with white flies. Not to change the subject but where do you get Organocide? I've already noticed a few fungus gnats. Would drenching with neem help? Do they come in the potting soil? Ok, that's enough quetions for one person to ask in a week, much less a day.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Oh mercy me, those babies can come from anywhere, especially in a warm climate like yours. And greenhouses, like tarheel has, is a proven breeding ground for them. Places where there are super cold winters tend to keep them in check.

I found Organocide at a local nursery/landscapging supplier I deal with. I think it is getting more popular so you may find it at local box stores. As for fungus knats you can use sticky traps on those, too, or Organocide, or to get the larvae in your pots of soil then you'll want to use Bt/I. As for Neem, I haven't tried it on either of these two pests but since it tends to interrupt the growth and reproductive stages of insects it just may work.

Shoe (off to stare a crispy fried pork chop in the eyes and gobble it up.)

Tonto Basin, AZ

Thanks, folks. Based on results of a few days, keeping the leaves cleared does deem to help. I;ve had white flies before, so . . . .

Tonto Basin, AZ

Yep, white flies. I've turned off the heat out there (until we get a cold snap) to harden the seedlings. In the morning before it warms, the flies are lethargic and it's easy to kill them on the leaves without them fliying off. Maybe I can get them controlled before warm nights come.

Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

Just thinking out loud....

Whiteflies are always on the undersides of the leaves. Adults, nymphs, eggs......all stages. You would be seeing white powdery rings underneath the leaves, like a dart board before they set up shop and is usually the first sign you'll notice.

I wonder if it's Psyllid eggs? I have them sweep in at times but they're not a long term resident.

Here's a pic I grabbed off the internet....

Thumbnail by Ray_Der_Phan
Tonto Basin, AZ

Thanks, Ray-Der-Phan, that's what they look like & there all on the tops of the leaves, nothing on the bottoms. I saw a few very small white flyng insects and took them to be white flies. If the INternet ever lets me search again, I'll check out Psyllid info.

Central, TX(Zone 8b)

Another possibility: I had this "problem" before only to find out from Texas A&M they were a physiological response by the tomato plant - I guess you could say "tomato sweat". In my case the little balls easily wiped off, they were always round about the same size, sort of whitish/yellow - just like insect eggs otherwise!

Tonto Basin, AZ

Interesting. I;m still seeing a few of these, some on top of the leaves, some on the bottom, and a few tiny flying insects.

Life goes on.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

tarheel, didja ever figure out if they were psyllids or not? I've got tomato seedlings declaring now in the greenhouse and will be keeping a close eye on them.

Shoe

Tonto Basin, AZ

I read about Psyllids - I haven't seen any of the nymph stages, so I guess not.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Thanks. I'd been wondering how things were progressing, or not. As for me, I see whitefly in the g-house on tops of leaves, not as certain books/articles say "only on the undersides". I thought maybe being in a g-house it was more protected so they are more adventurous, not like outside in the garden where they are more susceptible to winds and direct sun and have to hide under the leaves.

Shoe (always curious)....

Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

Quote from Horseshoe :
....... I thought maybe being in a g-house it was more protected so they are more adventurous, not like outside in the garden where they are more susceptible to winds and direct sun and have to hide under the leaves.

Shoe (always curious)....



Interesting, that does makes sense. Never seen them in a GH before. But "no crawling or flying" leads me away from Whiteflies themselves(they take off when disturbed), and their eggs are generally laid in powdery rings. But maybe out of direct sunlight and wind they just pop them out wherever they want? Definitely am curious too.

Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

Just found this....Does this look similar?

Scroll down to the Lacewing egg pics. http://tcpermaculture.blogspot.com/2011/05/beneficial-insects-lacewings.html

Tonto Basin, AZ

The white specks aren't on stalks & haven''t seen any larvae. When I'm wiping the specks away, I see what might be some of them flying away or might just be some them falling or being knocked off. Haven't seen anything like the little clouds of white flies I've seen other times.

Mayenne, France (European Territory)

I realise the last post here was 9 years ago but I've only just joined DG and have made this self same observation on my peppers and tomatoes this year. Having read the earlier posts I went to collect some of the white specks using an artist's sable brush. I transferred a few to a cover slip and viewed under a microscope at X100. The specks are the carapaces of an insect (having six legs) which has hatched. I can't see anything moving around the leaves, top side or underside but the insects which hatched from the dead carapaces have already done some damage making the top most leaves curl. So that's what the specks are. What the imago is I don't know.....yet.

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