Lately I’ve been feeling tiny bites any time I’m outside near my small vegetable garden. When I look at my where I felt the bite, I see a tiny orange insect, about the size of a small freckle. It’s too small to make out individual parts (i.e. legs or wings) without a magnifying glass, but it must be able to fly, since I usually find them on my arms.
From what I read on the internet, I believe that they are thrips. I’ve been spraying my tomato plants with an organic repellent that claims that it’s effective against thrips, but I don’t notice any difference. Apparently, thrips can be a vector for several tomato diseases.
Has anyone experienced these, and have you had any luck controlling them? I’m somewhat worried about my tomato plants, but honestly, I’m interested more in being able to enjoy my garden without all the little bites!
It does sound like it could be thrips bites, but perhaps the source is not your tomato plants. Do your tomatoes show any signs of thrips damage? Thrips like a variety of plants and most bites on humans occur when you are downwind from a fragrant blooming plant (the smell blows onto your skin and the thrips confuse you with a plant.) What else is surrounding your vegetable garden? Are there many wild flowers or perhaps a flowering tree? Or maybe you are wearing something scented on your skin that is attracting them? Before I started gardening frequently I used to wear Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream. Several years ago I started working full-time in a public garden and I quickly found that the honey bees were confusing me for an Almond tree! Although I love the smell, I have not used that moisturizer since…
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.