Tuta absoluta is a significant pest of both processed and fresh tomatoes, including those grown in greenhouses and open fields.Read more
Damage by Tuta absoluta can reach between 90% – 100% destruction overnight, completely devastating the crop and having huge financial repercussions. This pest damage occurs throughout the entire growing cycle of tomatoes as Tuta absoluta has a very high reproductive capability and can have up to 10-12 generations per year in favourable conditions.
In temperate climates, such as Nigeria, each generation can last from 3-5 weeks, however this is dependent on surrounding temperature and conditions and will vary depending on if the tomatoes have been grown in greenhouse or open field farms.
Tuta absoluta can cause damages on tomato, eggplant, potato, sweet peppers and common beans.
Tomato plants are attacked from seedlings through to mature plants. In tomato, infestation can be found on apical buds, leaves, and stems, flowers and fruits, on which the black faeces is visible.
On potato, mainly aerial parts and the tuber are attacked.
In general, the signs of tuta infestation include:
- puncture holes in fruits,
- mines (pale dead layers) in the leaves
- abnormal shaped fruits,
- frass (powdery waste),
- decay due to secondary infection of the flesh, and
- exit galleries in fruits.
It can be difficult to find the larvae and eggs on the crop, easiest identification will come from puncture marks on the fruit and galleries (mines) in the leaves. Most damage on the fruit is found under the calyx (green leaves on the top of the fruit).