How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Seasonal development and life cycle—Curly top

The curly top virus has a wide host range that includes beans, tomatoes, peppers, sugarbeet, melons, and other crops. It is not known if a single virus strain infects all these crops or whether distinct strains damage different crops. It is known that the virus overwinters in perennial and annual weeds in areas such as the foothills surrounding the Central Valley of California. The occurrence of curly top follows the seasonal cycle of its vector, the beet leafhopper. Beet leafhoppers overwinter in uncultivated places, where they pick up the curly top virus by feeding on infected wild plants. In spring, when wild hosts begin to dry out, the leafhoppers migrate into the valleys where they settle on crops. Symptoms of curly top appear after the leafhoppers are gone. The disease does not spread from one plant to another; new infestations are caused by new flights of leafhoppers.

Curling of tomato leaves

Curling of tomato leaves

Bean plant infected with curly top

Bean plant infected with curly top

An adult leafhopper

Adult beet leafhopper

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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