California Tomatoes: Beet Leafhopper Treatments Ramping Up

Beet Curly Top Virus Control Program (BCTVCP) personnel have observed a substantial increase in the beet leafhopper (BLH) populations. The recent warm, dry weather initiated a BLH hatch and the newest counts are higher than expected.

Currently, widespread BLH counts average 5-7 adult BLH and 10-15 2nd-3rd instar nymphs per 10 sweeps, from dried peppergrass. In a few locations, nymph counts are 30-40+ per 10 sweeps.

While most counts are still moderate, there is a possibility of a second generation building, because the filaree and Plantago are still green and viable in many locations.

BCTVCP will continue to closely monitor the situation, as timing is crucial to maximize the effectiveness of the treatments. The program is making arrangements for treatment in areas where all the host species are drying and BLH migration is becoming likely.

Treatment should begin within the week, beginning in Kern County, weather permitting.

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