Possible Tomato Psyllid Infestation

UPDATE- 3/22/2012: I have confirmation from an entomologist that these are psyllids. The fruit has become malformed, catfaced and just doesn’t grow “normally”. The tomatoes taste good, but the texture is mealy and unappealing – which confirms my suspicions that the plants are infected with Curly Top Virus and I will be removing/destroying them soon.

Curly Top Virus Signs I have learned to look for :

  • Purple veining
  • Curling Leaves
  • Insects
  • Mealy Flesh in Tomatoes

Okay, I’m not 100% sure that I have Psyllids, but it is looking that way.

I’ve had some leaf curl on the Black From Tula tomatoes almost all year. That has been combined with purple veining and coloration on the leaves. I was just chalking it up to the fact that these plants survived the winter in their Earthbox and they were probably stressed because of the temperature swings and the fact that there are 3 plants in the Earthbox, rather than the recommended two.

However, as of last night I noticed telltale insect signs like white dots and glistening sticky stuff on the leaves. I uncurled some leaves and sure enough – there are some insects: eggs, larvae, nymphs and adults. I suspected aphids last night. However, after getting up close and personal with assorted two cameras, magnifying glasses, macro lenses and more…it’s not looking like aphids. It’s looking like Tomato Psyllids…which probably isn’t a good thing. Check the gallery of images!

Tomato Psyllids - Adults and Eggs?

Tomato Psyllids - Adults and Eggs? These things are tiny!

Curled Tomato Leaves

Curled Tomato Leaves - Note the eggs near the edges and the larvae inside.

Psyllid Nymph and Molted Shells?

Psyllid Nymph and Molted Shells?

Psyllid Nymph and Molted Shells?

Psyllid Nymph and Molted Shells?

Adult Psyllids?

Adult Psyllids?

Adult Psyllids?

Adult Psyllids?

Insect eggs and larva on tomato leaf

Insect eggs and larva on tomato leaf

Insect eggs and larva on tomato leaf

Insect eggs and larva on tomato leaf

Insect eggs and larva on tomato leaf

Insect eggs and larva on tomato leaf

Adult insect purple veins on tomato leaf

Adult insect purple veins on tomato leaf

Insects on tomato leaf

Insects on tomato leaf

Psyllid sugars on tomato leaf

Psyllid sugars on tomato leaf

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Found the Bees

Bees in Ficus Tree

Bees in Ficus Tree

In a previous post, I asked where the bees were. Well, I no longer wonder. They are living in the Ficus tree in my front yard! It’s a big hive, and it’s way up in the tree.

I think they arrived in a swarm last spring. I saw the cloud of bees in the yard, but never saw them land.The tree is very densely leaved, so I failed to notice the hive until this winter as I was raking up leaves.

In Arizona most wild bees are considered Africanized, but these bees don’t seem to pay attention to us or the neighbors. They enter and exit the hive at the top of the tree and fly over the roof of the house during their daily pollen gathering.  That is proving to be a good thing, because my latest efforts at growing things is directly behind this tree in my backyard, so pollination is happening nicely with these girls hard at work.