Keeled Treehoppers (Antianthe expansa) Need a Plan
In the past these guys have taken over my tomato plants by July or so and do a lot of significant damage! Birds don't want them and neither does anything else! The adults are very wary and can see you coming and move to the other side of the stem and they blend in so perfectly to begin with that finding them is very difficult. They pierce and suck and just do way more stunting to the plant than you'd imagine from their cute photos linked to below.
In the past a strong soap solution worked on the black larvae. But so does blasting them off with water and anything you would use with aphids. (These guys are so much more damaging than even the giant colonies of aphids that its not even funny.)
Its the adults that are a real problem. Their armor like shell is impossible to crush with anything but a rock. Very hard to use fingers because of the projections on their exterior-- like little thorns. But so very strong. Amazingly strong exoskeleton or whatever its called. They're well designed that's for sure.
They also move and hide and hop back on when disturbed or tossed aside. They're difficult to detect on bushy tomato plants (which is where they like to be.) I am not sure of the color of the eggs nor where they are laid nor have I found much info on that to make me confident of egg elimination. Soap solution makes the adults laugh at you. Pyrethrins also have no noticable effect.
And I also haven't read how they get to the initial location to begin with. If they overwinter in soil or fly or what. If anyone can lead me to an extensive article about their biology it would be much appreciated. I just can't find much.
My tentative plan is to just be out there every other day spraying the bushes down with a serious blaster and hand pick all that I can- toss in deep bucket and use a brick for mass smashing. This is going to be exhausting. But its very depressing and disheartening to see the damage they do on the plants. I normally never have pest problems and even when they do show up they're so easy to deal with. Not these guys. They're completely evil.
I would appreciate any advice one might have with regards to these guys...
Here is a link that might be useful: Cute photos of the destructive Keeled (Keelbacked) Treehopper