Insecticidal Soap Sprayed

I noticed some insects on the Scotch Bonnet last night – hope they aren’t the same ones as the tomatoes. I think they are aphids…but that’s what I thought about the toms at first too! I covered the plant with Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap today, which we bought at Lowe’s last night. There are quite a few small leaves, as this plant is from last year and it is just now coming into season after I pruned it a couple of weeks back. Some leaves are a bit yellow, so I added some fish emulsion to the watering today.

It is currently 75F with a projected high of 84, so I moved the plant into shade before spraying.

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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

Spider Mites?

One reader has said that my problem seems to be spider mites. That makes sense. While I don’t have a lot of visible webbing, the damage looks like it very well could be these arachnids in action.

Right now, the temperature is 84F,¬† and humidity non-existent, so it’s a perfect environment for them to thrive in. Since I have been diligent about checking my plants, and the problem is relatively small and new I am treating the mites the same way I caught the aphids off-guard. Soap and water. A couple drops of Dawn dish soap in my spray bottle, and I have saturated the plants from the bottom and the tops of the leaves.

Of course, it is still 84 degreees – so this dries pretty rapidly, but it is increasing the humidity a bit, and I was pretty thorough about spraying them. Washed off any foreign matter, for sure. Will reapply as necessary – never when the sun can strike the leaves and burn them. I’ll keep you posted.

Tomato Diseases and Pests

I need some help in determining exactly what I am dealing with here. Any ideas?

If you click the images, you can see a bigger version. Click the bigger version, and you can get a full-res version that you can zoom in on! Notice that in one photo, there appears to be 2 foliar diseases that look different from each other, and there are at least 2 different kinds of insects (or one kind in 2 stages of life?)

If you got here thru a direct link, just click the banner at the top to get to the main page, or click here. The main page will detail these plants from seedhouse to now.