The Q&A Archives: Small Red Mites on Tomatoes

Question: In checking my tomato plants there appears to be small red bugs (size of mites) on the blooms & the leaves. I don't believe they have done any harm in the past as the plants have been okay. What are these bugs & could they possibly cause harm due to the fact that the population appears to be larger than in the past.

Answer: I have also seen these small, red mites you speak of in my garden each year. Usually there are only a few of them and they appear to not harm any plants. In fact, I believe they are harmless. The mites we need to worry about are spider mites and they are very small. You often don't see their damage until the leaves are covered with webbing and have many yellow stipples on them. Spider mites can cause great damage, but are controlled with regular water misting (they like a dry environment) and spraying insecticidal soap. As long as the red mites aren't causing damage, I'd leave them alone.

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