Pest status and management strategies of the South American tomato pinwormin the Mediterranean 12 years after its arrival


Abstract: The South American tomato pinworm, Tuta absoluta, was reported for the firsttime in Europe in Spain, during 2006, and soon after in Italy and the whole Mediterraneanbasin. Afterwards, it spread rapidly throughout Afro-Eurasia and became a major threat toworld tomato production, also due to its strong tendency to develop insecticide resistantpopulations. Application of integrated control strategies, both before and after transplanting,is the only way to manage infestations by this pest. To this aim, many techniques have beentested throughout Mediterranean countries during the last 12 years, and are discussed in thepresent work. These include primarily the application of: insecticides impregnated nets,dustable sulphur, mating disruption and mass trapping techniques. Biological control has beenwidely experimented too, especially by means of generalist predators, which are the mostpromising antagonists of the moth. In particular, the mirid Nesidiocoris tenuis has beenlargely used in biocontrol programs of T. absoluta, with encouraging results coming fromresearch aimed at reducing economic losses by its zoo-phytophagous habit and repeatedfeeding on tomato plants.

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