Tuta absolu en el Tomate: How to eliminate with home remedies

Very good to all gardeners. In today’s article we are going to talk about one of the star pests in the garden . Does a name already come to mind? Indeed … We are going to put all our attention to the Tuta Absolute , also known as the tomato moth .

What is the absolute Tuta ?

The Tuta puro , also known as the tomato moth , is a lepidopteran from the Gelechiidae family.

It is a very common species in South America, although it does not usually appear in areas with cold climates or above 1000 meters of altitude. In Spain it has been detected in many areas.

  • The eggs are yellowish white and appear on the underside of the leaves .
  • The larvae are usually cream-colored with a dark head and a narrow black band on the back, this differentiates them from the potato moth since their back is completely dark. In its final larval stage its color is greenish with pink spots and it is between 1 and 8 mm long.
  • And … as a good lepidopteran in its adult phase, it is a moth with gray wings that has black spots .

Traps of Tuta Absolute to detect it

These larvae usually pupate both on the leaves and on the stems or on the ground depending on the environmental conditions. At the moment this larva pupa can be easily located due to the silky white cocoon that characterizes this structure. But it may already be too late for the plant since the most serious damage occurs in the larval stage.

To locate it prematurely, you can use water traps that contain sex pheromones , the moths are attracted to pheromones and end up trapped in the water , and other control methods that we will talk about later.

Damages of the Tuta Absolute in the crops

Once the larva hatches from the egg, it looks for what is closest to hand to start feeding. It penetrates both the fruits, creating very visible perforations, as well as the stems and leaves. On the leaves, it creates the famous white galleries by feeding only on the mesophyll, so the epidermis of the leaf remains intact, presenting that translucent white color that we observed before. These galleries later become necrotic, making the presence of this plague even more evident. The affected fruits usually end up rotting, spoiling the entire harvest .

Home remedies against Tuta absolu

Traps with sex pheromones are very useful to detect their presence and at the same time catch possible invaders, but there are also other cheaper remedies to be able to eliminate this plague:

1. How to eliminate tomato moth: cultural methods

As always, in this regard to pests, you have to keep a check on the garden to prevent them, remove weeds and reuse them along with the crop residues, rotate crops so as not to offer free food to this species, etc. In the case of this pest, it is highly recommended to destroy the affected material . It is very hard but this way it is prevented that the plague can jump to other species.

We can also use chromatic traps to capture it. These traps have a basis similar to those of pheromones. In this case, the moths are attracted to a colored plate and when they come into contact with it they remain stuck. They can be made at home with eva rubber and rat glue.

2. Nesidiocoris tenuis against tomato moth 

  • To combat the Tuta the Myrids are great, both Nesidiocoris tenuis and Macrolophus caliginosus are predatory species of the Tuta. They can be bought but also attract naturally to your gardens by sowing aromatics (I do not guarantee the success of this measure).
  • We can also use Neem oil.  The affected plant can be treated with this ecological insecticide. Apply with a spray.
  • Bacillus thuringiensis : It is usually marketed in powders, the product is diluted in water depending on the pest to be treated, in the case of Tuta it is recommended to apply it on the leaves from bottom to top every 15 days. The treatment with this bacterium is ecological and very effective, once it is applied on the affected plant, the larvae will ingest tissues that present this bacterium, when the bacterium sporulates, forms protein crystals-endotoxins, which have an insecticidal action. The spores are activated in the digestive system of the pest, paralyzing its ability to feed and proving its death by starvation.

I leave you here a very interesting video so that you can see how biological control insects attack the Tuta Absolute .

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