I thought some of you might be interested in an observation I have made in my garden, pertaining to apparent differential treatment by pest insects toward red-fruited tomato varietals and yellow-fruited tomato varietals, respectively.
Namely, the fruit-eating pest insects I have, (blister beetles, stink bug nymphs), seem to favor yellow fruited tomatoes over red ones. Anecdotally, I would estimate that about 80% of my red tomato fruits have no visible evidence of pest pressure at all, while close to 100% of my yellow tomato fruits are damaged. An heirloom breed called 'Cherokee Purple' seems to experience the least pest pressure of all, but for purposes of this post, I lump it in with the red varietals.
As pest damage often occurs while the fruits are unripe, (and therefore green,) I do not think this phenomenon, assuming I have correctly identified it, is based on the color of the tomato fruit.
Some details to consider:
- I am located in central Texas on a rural parcel surrounded by mixed chaparral and horse pasture
- My garden is a polycuture ~40, including various native volunteers
- My tomato plants are spaced an average of 4' apart with various plants growing in between; red and yellow varietals are intermixed randomly
I have not properly experimented in order to obtain any quantifiable data to accurately demonstrate this tendency, but I suspect this may have some useful applications in companion planting.
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When striped blister beetles striped the foliage from my rutgers vines (red fruit) They did not touch the purple cherokee interspersed in the same row. I am glad to have this confirmed...I love cherokee purples. Our black cherry were damaged some but recoverable. We didn't have any yellow to compare. Thanks for sharing this observation.
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I am reading blister beetle threads tonight because I had two HUGE bushes of yellow pear tomatoes this morning that are almost bare vines tonight, except that they are crawling with black blister beetles (which I had never seen before).
They are also on a few of my other (red) tomato varieties in lesser numbers, but I can confirm there are none on my Cherokee Purples. (It's my first year to grow these and they hadn't been impressing me, being sparse of growth and each producing just a few tomatoes.) But they do seem to be blister-beetle free!