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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posted 7 years ago
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.
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
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!