Tuta absoluta, also known as the tomato leaf miner, tomato pinworm and South American tomato moth, is a major pest of field and greenhouse-grown tomatoes. Adult moths are grey-brown, while newly hatched caterpillars are yellowish and small. During maturation, caterpillars turn yellow-green and a black band develops behind the head. Fully-grown caterpillars have a pinkish color on their back.
Tuta absoluta larvae mine the leaves producing large galleries, where they feed on mesophyll tissues and leaving irregular mines on the leaf surface, later they burrow into the fruit, causing a substantial loss of tomato production in protected and open field cultivations. This pest damage occurs throughout the entire tomato growing cycle. Adult females can lay hundreds of eggs and have a very high reproduction rate with up to 10 to 12 generations per year, in favorable conditions. Tuta absoluta are unlikely to enter diapause as long as a food source is available although they can also overwinter as eggs, pupae and as adults. The tomato leaf miner attacks tomato plants during all the plant stages, from seedling to mature plant. Losses on tomatoes can reach 100% due to larval feeding, if not effectively controlled.
There are specific natural enemies for different species of leaf miners.
For more information contact your local BioBee field agent.