Tuta absoluta is a devastating pest affecting Tomatoes. It originated from South America. Recently Tuta absoluta considered to be a serious threat to tomato production in Mediterranean region. The newly introduced pest from south America finding the shores of the Mediterranean a perfect new home where it can breed between 10-12 generations a year. Each female can lay 250-300 eggs in her life time. This pest is crossing boarders and devastating tomato production both protected and open fields. The infestation of Tuta absoluta also reported on potato, Aubergine and common beans.
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Tuta absoluta is a very challenging pest to control. Effectiveness of chemical control is limited due to insect’s nature of damage as well as its rapid capability of development of insecticide resistant strains. The use of biological factors are still largely under development and not ready to combat this pest effectively and in a cost effective way. Sex pheromone trap is using as an early detection tool. (Also read drip-irrigation-emitters-unmasked/) Mass trapping and lure and Kill application of pheromone has been found to be effective to control Tuta absoluta. IPM strategies are being developed to control Tuta absoluta. Various active substances can be applied in combination with bio-rational control tactics.
Images: Tuta absoluta larva and pupa.