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Integrated Pest Management Program

Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Department of Extension

Pest Messages > Greenhouse

Tortoise Beetles, June 7, 2013

Leanne Pundt, Extension Educator, Greenhouse IPM

Hopefully, your customers have now planted their tomato plants in their garden. Here’s a pest you may get questions on.

Tortoise Beetles

Tortoise beetles may be feeding on tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes.  This beetle makes small holes in the foliage, but doesn’t cause serious injury so does not need to be controlled.

Figure 1: Tortoise beetles on tomato transplants, photo L. Pundt

Golden Tortoise Beetles (also known as “gold bugs”) feeds on plants in the morning glory family such as sweet potato vine and morning glory, producing small holes on the leaves.  Damage is not serious, but home gardeners may ask what is causing this damage.  There is only one generation a year, so control is not necessary.  

Figure 2: Golden Tortoise Beetle Adult, Photo L. Pundt