The Return of the Turd Bug

Bug on tomato leaf
Turd Bug

Last summer I had a bug show up on my tomato plants that looked like a little bird turd. I have never before seen one like this. I’m always on the lookout for the worms that grow gigantic and can strip a tomato plant down to stems only, but when I first saw this little bug I dismissed it as bird poop.

Then I saw more of them so I looked closer. They are hard-shelled and I only found them on the tomatoes. So far this year I have found one on the potato plant. None of my tomatoes are in the ground yet. They do eat the leaves, but can be picked off easy enough. They fly if you mess with them, like little lady bugs.

On my New England blog I had mentioned this turd bug and a reader left a message telling me what it is. Look up the clavate tortoise beetle and you’ll see it is one and the same.  That page says, “this species appears to prefer plants of the family Solanaceae” which means…what?  Okay… I looked it up.  Wikipedia says it’s the nightshade family which does include potato, tomato and eggplant.

My tomato plants go into the ground this weekend and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the turd bug.

Must be the larva I got a photo of.

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