The Pro Farmer

Leaf miners on tomato plants

Tomato leaf miner (Tuta Absoluta)

It’s a moth, attacking only tomato and eggplant.

Tuta absoluta as a moth
Enormous amounts of Tuta absoluta moths killed by a blue light electric mosquito killer


The caterpillar penetrates the leaves and eats them from the inside.

Mines done by Tuta absoluta caterpillar on tomato leaf
A whole leaf eaten by Tuta absoluta caterpillar
The Tuta absoluta caterpillar eating only the green stuff of the leaf
Damage of Tuta absoluta to a whole row of tomato plants

The damage can be enormous.

It attacks also the fruits.

Damage of Tuta absoluta to tomato fruit

It is recommended to use at least 3 kinds of different pesticides,

and alternate between them every 4 days,

in order to overcome pest’s resistance, and completely exterminate them.

For further information about this, read this post , and this post also.

There are 3 ways to eliminate Tuta absoluta: Chemical, organic and biologic.

Chemical:

Best pesticides for Tuta absoluta,

Active ingredients:

Chlorantraniliprole  
Thiamethoxam 
Flubendiamide
Emamectin benzoate    
Lufenuron
Cyantraniliprole 
Indoxacarb   
Metaflumizone
Novaluron
Pyridalyl
Teflubenzuron

Organic:

Bacillus thuringiensis –

They are the spores of bacteria that live in the soil.

It makes proteins that are toxic to some insects when eaten.

Infected caterpillars move slowly, change color and shrivel.

After ingesting a lethal dose, the larvae stop feeding within an hour.

They die 2 to 5 days after the intake of the bacteria.

Treat when small, newly hatched larvae are present, and first feeding damage is observed.

Since product must be ingested to obtain control, treat when larvae are actively feeding, and before extensive damage occurs.

Repeat applications may be necessary at 3- 7 days intervals.


Spinosad:

It’s a natural substance made by a soil bacterium, that can be toxic to insects.

It affects the nervous system of insects, that eat or touch it.

It causes their muscles to flex uncontrollably.

This leads to paralysis and ultimately their death, typically within 1-2 days.

Spraying Spinosad, mixed with neem oil, paraffinic oil, or mineral oil will increase lethality.


Some products are more expensive than others, due to a higher percentage of Spinosad inside, which is certainly better.



Neem oil:

A naturally occurring pesticide, found in seeds from the neem tree.               

Azadirachtin is the most active component here.                                                         

It reduces insect feeding and acts as a repellent.

It also interferes with insect hormone systems, making it harder for insects to grow and lay eggs.


Beauveria bassiana:

Live fungal spores for the control of soft-bodied insects in organic production.

Its spores adhere to the target insect’s outer shell, and begin the infection process.

At this point, you may notice insects with a whitish appearance.

Once the spores have breached the protective barrier of the outer shell, they continue to multiply until they reach the insect’s blood, which they begin feeding on.

Death occurs 7 to 14 days after infection.


Pyrethrin:

  A collection of six esters, which are found in high concentrations within the achenes of the flower.

It targets insects’ nervous systems.

Pyrethrin induce excited behavior in the insect, which results in increased insect exposure to the pyrethrin and eventual death.


Biological:

Trichogramma brassicae –

Tiny parasitic wasp, that have a wingspan of 1/50th of an inch.

They attack and destroy the eggs of over 150 species of moths, and butterflies, which are leaf eaters in their caterpillar stage.

The adult wasps can lay up to 300 eggs each, parasitizing an equivalent number of soon caterpillars’ eggs.

The wasps’ larvae hatch from the eggs, and attack the moths’ eggs embryos from within.

Instead of pests hatching out, more mini-wasps emerge instead.

Shipped as pupae in host eggs, glued to one inch by one inch paper squares.

Carefully tear the sheets along the perforations, and either distribute them immediately throughout the crop, or hold them in containers with food, until the adults begin to emerge.

Release when moths are first present and periodically thereafter.

These wasps are cheap, easy, and effective at controlling both caterpillars and moths.

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