Curly top virus can be found in over 44 plant families such as garden tomatoes, beets, beans, spinach, cucurbits, potatoes and peppers. Sugar beets are the most commonly infected hosts, and the disease is often referred to as Beet Curly Top Virus (BCTV). The disease is transmitted via the tiny sugar beet leafhopper and is most prevalent when temperatures are warm and populations of leafhoppers are greatest.
Read more at Gardening Know How: Tomato Curly Top Virus: Tips For Treating Curly Top
Determining Curly Top
The best way to determine the difference between wilting from lack of water and wilting from curly top virus is to simply water. Soak the soil around the distressed plant in the early evening. Check the plant the following morning. If the plant has not revived overnight, it’s likely the plant has curly top.
There is no chemical controls for curly top. The virus is spread from diseased to healthy plants by an insect called the beet leafhopper. It’s a very small, wedge-shaped, winged bug only one-tenth of an inch long. It’s color varies from pale green to gray to brown.
Given their size, beet leafhoppers are very hard to detect, but there are things you can do to limit their contact with your plants and thus prevent the spread fo the disease.
Treating Curly Top Virus While there are no cures for this rapidly spreading virus, some preventative measures may help. It only takes seconds for the leafhopper to infect a plant and then jump to another plant. Tomato curly top virus, as well as pepper curly top virus, can be avoided if some shade is provided. The leafhopper feeds mostly in the direct sunlight and will not feed on plants that are shaded. Use a shade cloth in very sunny locations or place plants where they will receive some shade. A weekly spray of neem oil will also help keep the pesky leafhopper at bay. Remove all infected plants immediately.