The Q&A Archives: Tomatoes

Question: My tomato plants get little black bugs. I spray them weekly with Seven. What are they and what more can I do about them?

Answer: The little black bugs are probably flea beetles. This is the time of year they are most active. I'd be concerned about a weekly application of Sevin. This insecticide kills all insects, including bees, which you'll want to protect in your veggie garden. Instead of Sevin, how about using an organic insecticide instead? Permethrin is the oldest, and most common, of the pyrethroid insecticides. It is widely available and is sold under a large number of different brand names (Martin?s Vegetables Plus, Bonide Eight Vegetable, Fruit & Flower, and Hi-Yield Garden, Pet & Livestock Insect Control are three examples). Permethrin is labeled for use on many different vegetable crops and is effective against many beetle, bug, and caterpillar pests. Because it controls so many different insect pests and is labeled for use on most vegetables, this is probably one of the most useful insecticides for home vegetable gardeners to keep on hand. Good luck with your garden!

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