California Tomatoes: Beet Leafhoppers Building In Parts Of Western SJV

Adult beet leafhopper. Photo: Lorry Dunning., University of California-Davis

The Beet Curly Top Virus Control Program (BCTVCP) would like to notify growers and industry of high counts of Beet leafhopper (BLH) in specific areas on the west side.

  • Fresno County: In the Jacolitos and Zapatos areas of Fresno County, near Lost Hills Road and Highway 33 there were counts of 30-50 BLH per 10 sweeps. These counts were limited to burned portions of the hillsides. In areas not burned, the hillsides are covered with last year’s dry vegetation. The counts in these areas are lower, averaging 4-7 BLH per 10 sweeps.
  • Kings County: In the Kettleman Hills, north of Highway 41, west of Interstate 5, and south of Highway 269 there were counts of 30-50 BLH per 10 sweeps. These counts were limited to the burned portions of the hillsides. In areas not burned, the hillsides are covered with last year’s dry vegetation. The counts in these areas are lower, averaging 4-7 BLH per 10 sweeps.
  • Kern County: In an area known as William’s Lease, located south of Blackwell’s Corner and west of Highway 33 there were high BLH counts of 30-50 BLH per 10 sweeps. In the Taft area of Kern County, vegetation is green and the host plants are abundant. Counts are low, with an average of 4-6 BLH per 10 sweeps. The pepper grass is just starting to show signs of stress.

BCTVCP has reminded growers and PCAs that any fallow fields or weedy areas adjacent to susceptible crops should be inspected for BLH prior to disking or mowing. If a BLH infestation is present, please use an insecticide first. The Program can be available for BLH surveys and, if needed, treatment of fallow fields where BLH counts reach the treatment threshold.

Also of note:

  • BCTVCP was alerted to possible BLH on trap cards in the Five Points area. The Program confirmed BLH on the trap cards, along with non-target leafhoppers and thrips. The BLH were most likely disturbed from nearby roadsides or weedy areas due to cultivation practices.
  • Personnel are monitoring the BLH populations closely and preparing for the spring spray campaign. Vegetation will need to stress and dry up before treatment can begin. At this time, host plants and vegetation remain green and viable.

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