Continued from series 1
The larvae of Tuta absoluta mine the leaves producing large galleries and burrow into the fruit, causing a substantial loss of tomato production in protected and open filed cultivations. The larvae feed on mesophyll tissues and make irregular mine on leaf surface. Damage can reach up to 100%. This pest damage occurs throughout the entire growing cycle of tomatoes. Tuta absoluta has a vey high reproduction capability. There are up to 10-12 generations in year in favourable conditions. The larvae are very unlikely to enter diapause as long as food source is available. Tuta absoluta can overwinter as eggs, pupae and adults. Adult female could lay hundreds of eggs during her life time. Tomato plants can be attacked from seedlings to mature plants. In tomato infestation found on apical buds, leaves, and stems, flowers and fruits, on which the black frass is visible. On potato, mainly aerial parts are attacked. However damage on tuber also recently reported.
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Tuta absoluta reduced yield and fruit quality of Tomato grown in green house and open field. Severely attacked tomato fruits lose their commercial value. 50–100% losses have been reported on tomato (EPPO, 2005). On potato, CIP (1996) considers that is one of the major pests of foliage, occurring in warm zones of low altitudes (below 1000 m)
As larvae are internal feeders it is difficult to achieve an effective control through application of chemical insecticides. Moreover, Tuta absoluta can rapidly evolve strains with reduced susceptibility to insecticides that have been previously effective. Failure by synthetic insecticides has also been reported in many countries.