Tomato miner (Tuta absoluta) is a quarantine pest, as it can destroy almost the whole tomato yield in a greenhouse, if protection measures against it are not taken. This type of pest was imported from South America to Spain, where it began its spreading across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Thanks to the rapid reproduction and developmental features, this phytophage greatly increased its habitat in a short time.
For an effective control of Tuta absoluta an integrated approach is required. The complex of measures against tomato miner includes: agrotechnical measures, pest monitoring and pest detection, mechanical trapping using traps, usage of chemical and biological plant protection products.
Agrotechnical measures involve maintaining the territory inside and near the greenhouse clean from the solanaceous weeds, training the personnel of the greenhouse how to search for and recognize the pest, using nets on transoms. If the pest is already present in the greenhouse, it is especially important to make quality treatments at the end of the season and before starting a new one.
Pheromone traps, delta or water traps, are used to monitor moths in a greenhouse. Monitoring must start with a seedling lot to prevent the spread of the pest into the greenhouse. As pest larvae develop within the leaf, creating specific mines, trained personnel can help in detecting it in the greenhouse.
Mechanical trapping is carried out using pheromone water traps, light and black glue traps. Each kind of traps has its application features. Water pheromone traps are best placed in the lower tier of plants (on the floor), as they attract males and they will not be able to meet females that prefer the tops of plants.
It is important not to forget to change the pheromone from time to time, since it is supposed to be used during 4-6 weeks. If there are beneficials in the greenhouse, then it is not advisable to use light traps, as they attract predators such as Macrolophus caliginosus and Nesidiocoris tenuis. In this case, the light traps are better to be used in the technical area, where the pest is also present. Black glue traps are placed on the floor to catch moths when it tries to hide in a hidden place with the dawn coming. Light and black traps catch both males and females.
Biological products for control of tomato moths are ineffective and economically unprofitable, since most of the time the pest's larvae are staying inside the leaf, and the products have effect for a limited time. At the moment, the most effective chemical of protecting plants from this pest are those based on spinosad, flubendiamide, metaflumizone, chlorantraniliprole and indoxocarb. It should be noted that there may be cross-resistance between indoxocarb and metaflumizone, as well as between flubendiamide and chlorantraniliprole. It should be taken into account when preparing the treatment schedule. For treatments between rotations, it is recommended to use products based on insecticides bifentrin and divipan.
The most effective beneficials to control miners are Macrolophus caliginosus and Nesidiocoris tenuis. Predators destroy both eggs and phytophagous larvae. Predators can be used together or separately, it depends on the production features and conditions in the greenhouse and is determined individually.
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