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Tuta Absoluta

Tuta Absoluta

Tuta Absoluta

insect

In a Nutshell

    The larvae form irregular grey to white leaf mines that may later become necroticGalleries and large burrows in the fruitThese opening are used by secondary pathogens, leading to fruit rot

Hosts: %1$s

· Tomato

Symptoms

Infestation occurs throughout the crop cycle and can affect any crop part. The larvae prefer apical buds, young soft leaflets, and flowers. On leaves, the larvae form irregular, gray to white leaf mines that may later become necrotic. The larvae may drill galleries into stems which affects plant growth. On fruits, black marks can be found at the larvaes entry or exit points. These opening serve as entry points for secondary pathogens, leading to fruit rot.

Trigger

Tuta absoluta is a devastating tomato pest because of its high reproduction potential, with up to 12 generations per year. Females may lay up to 300 creamy-­colored eggs on the underside of leaves. Eclosion takes place at 26-30ºC and 60-75% RH. The larvae are pale green with a characteristic black band at the back of their heads. Under favorable conditions (temperature, humidity), their development is completed in about 20 days. The adults are silvery brown, 5 - 7 mm long and hide between leaves during daytime. Tuta absoluta can overwinter as eggs, larvae or adults on leaves or in the soil.

Biological Control

Several predators feeding on T. absoluta have been found: among other species the parasitoid wasp Trichogramma pretiosum, and the bugs Nesidiocoris tenuis and Macrolophus pygmaeus. Several fungal species including Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana attack the eggs, larvae and adults of the pest. Neem seed extracts or insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis or Spinosad also work.

Chemical Control

Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments if available. Pesticides recommended for tuta absoluta pest management may not be viable due to the cryptic nature of the larvae, the high reproduction capacity of the insect and the development of resistance. To avoid that, rotate several types of insecticides such as imidacloprid and indoxacarb.

Preventive Measures

    Use pest-­free transplantsUse sticky traps or pheromone traps to monitor your field and mass-catch the adultsPick up and destroy damaged plants and plant partsControl alternative host plants in and around the fieldTo prevent a carryover from previous crops, wait a minimum of 6 weeks before planting the next cropImplement wide crop rotationPlow the soil and cover it with plastic mulch or perform solarizationRemove and destroy infested plants after harvest