Here are pictures of the infected leaves. I cut them off the plant as soon as I saw them today.

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The three infected leaves

Here are close-ups of the most infected leaf:

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Close up, top Close up, bottom

What can I do to prevent this from happening to the rest of the plant?

I may have found the culprit. I found the what looks like a fruit fly right beside a new white patch. I am not sure if it was snacking or had just finished laying eggs. I am actually not sure if it was a fruit fly at all. Here are some pictures:

The first two are the bugs in action. enter image description here enter image description here Here is a close up of a bug I caught while cleaning the leaves with soapy water. enter image description here

Can anyone confirm this is a fruit fly and that it is the bug responsible for the white mess?

  • Latest news: the same thing happened to a nearby pepper plant. I think I also saw a white fly flying around. Not sure if they are related. I'm going to try washing the stuff off the pepper plant with a qutip and soapy water as the pepper doesn't really have many leaves to spare.
    – Om Patange
    Apr 22, 2012 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


This is definitely not a fruit fly as they do not damage leaves and the body of the pest is longer and thinner.

The original poster advises that the eggs of the pest are a different colour then a tomato leaf miner, my first identification. The most likely pest is the thrip as seen in this picture here. They are common, feed on a wide variety of crop and ornamental plants and the damage the larvae cause looks like a leaf miner. They also leave black "frass" on the leaves where they lay their eggs. This guide from the Ministry of Agriculture may help you.

For ornamental plants I have never been able to control thrips with or without pesticides. The eggs are inside the leaf and cannot be controlled with soap. The only solution was to destroy the plant. You may have success with removing damaged leaves, surrounding the plant with a fine mesh to prevent new adults from arriving and applying soap and water.

  • The pictures don't match; the bug I have is almost like a fruitfly in appearance except for the eyes. Also, the leaf miner's eggs are white, while I have white splotches with black dots.
    – Om Patange
    Apr 29, 2012 at 20:55

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