Ask a Question forum: Insects on tomatoes?

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Dallas, TX
Aug 17, 2017 3:04 PM CST
Our tomatos are covered by long, thin, brown insects, and I wondered what these insects are, are they harmful, and is it safe to eat tomatoes that these insects sit on? There are so many of these huge insects, and they are always on top of our tomatoes... It's hard to photograph them, but two pictures are attached.

Our location is Dallas, TX.

Thumb of 2017-08-17/Waveguide/b1a25d

Thumb of 2017-08-17/Waveguide/576a2b

Southeast OK (Zone 7b)
Aug 17, 2017 3:47 PM CST
Leaf footed bug. Get sevin dust on tomatoes and peppers if you are growing those as well. Reapply in 7 days if you continue to see them. It is the only way I know of to save your maters. It's what saves mine anyway. They also like peppers so if they are not there yet, they will be. They are sucking your fruit dry and can ruin the whole crop. There should also be babies but they don't look like the adults.
[Last edited by KarenHolt - Aug 17, 2017 3:52 PM (+)]
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Aug 17, 2017 5:33 PM CST
KarenHolt said:...sevin dust on tomatoes...

Using Sevin dust is one option. If you choose to do that, please read the "days to harvest" chart. You would need to wait 3 days after applying the dust before eating the tomatoes.

Another way would be to just pinch the insects (okay to wear gloves), drop the insects into a bucket of soapy water, and not use chemicals.

Your choice.

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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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Aug 17, 2017 5:39 PM CST
Or carry a squirt bottle of insecticidal soap and zap them individually since they're large enough to see easily.
Dallas, TX
Aug 17, 2017 5:53 PM CST
Thanks a lot! This is so helpful.
Are these bugs harmful to tomatoes? What will happen if we simply ignore them?
I am not in favor of killing any garden creatures, unless they are competing with me over my tomatoes and harm them...
Southeast OK (Zone 7b)
Aug 18, 2017 8:16 AM CST
They are competing with you for your maters. They are sucking the fruit dry. They replicate by the millions.
Southeast OK (Zone 7b)
Aug 18, 2017 9:34 AM CST
I wanted to come back and get a little more specific about this since I'm now on my desktop computer. Here is a link that will help you understand what you are dealing with.

I first noticed my leaf footed bugs this year around the end of spring. There were only 4 or 5 on the datura I planted. I tried the soapy water and cutting them in half and putting in a bucket, squashing them. They flew away faster than I could get it done. The spray bottle did not work for me, but I do understand it works. Another friend of mine did the spray bottle and it worked. I left the datura and kept an eye on it. By the middle of June, they were in my zinnias and datura. I promptly pulled the datura. They looked horrible from the leaf footed bug damage by now and all they were doing was hosting. I kept an eye on my tomatoes and peppers and sure enough, come July, they were in full force. Because of the sheer numbers of these things I had to use sevin dust for control. The bad part was that bees were pollinating so I had to wait until they were done. Within 3 days of the one sevin dust application I did not see anymore of the leaf footeds. My tomatoes did turn out well this year.

Do make sure you wait the 3 days before eating as greene said. I do know I did wait 3 days before canning or eating them. And washed those babies well before preparing. I hope this helped.

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