The absolute tuta (also known as the tomato tuta , or as the “tomato moth”) is a lepidoptera that belongs to the Gelechiidae family . This species is common in regions of South America, although very rarely we can find it in cold latitudes, or in those that are above 1000 meters of altitude. The most common cases that have been detected in Spain have been in more or less cold areas.
In the adult phase it will evolve into a moth characterized by having gray wings with some dark spots. He lays some yellow eggs and places them on the underside of the leaves. When the larvae emerge, they have a cream color and a dark head. It is important to differentiate it from the potato moth; They are similar, although the characteristics are completely different.
The tomato of the tomato , in its final larval phase, has a green color with pink spots, having a length that goes from 1 to 8mm.
From the moment it leaves the egg, the larva feeds on the first thing found in the environment. In this way, the absolute tuta will make perforations in the tomato plant, both in the area of the stems and in the leaves. And they are very visible recesses. In relation to the leaves, it will create white galleries (since it only feeds on the mesophyll); In this way, the sheet will present a translucent white color, which will be precisely one of the main ways we have to identify the problem.
It also affects the fruits. Usually, these will spoil as they rot internally. If the problem is not controlled, this rot will not take long to extend to the rest of the crop.
How to detect Tuta absoluta or Tuta del tomato?
As we have already commented, the larva will feed on the stems or leaves; This will depend on the environmental conditions. The pulp larva can be easily seen; the characteristic white cocoon with silky texture must be identified. However, if we see this cocoon it may be too late for the plant, and it is precisely in the larval state that the time of the time in which the most serious damage occurs.
A homemade tomato trap can be used to locate it as soon as possible: these plants are characterized by having sex pheromones. That is, it will emit pheromones and this will attract moths. The moment they reach the trap, they will be trapped on a surface of water. There are also other control methods, although the water trap is usually the most effective.
Methods to end the plague
The truth is that by establishing simple daily routines we can keep the absolute tuta controlled: We will have to remove weeds on a regular basis, rotate the crops so as not to feed this species, etc.
In the event that it is detected that part of the crop has been affected, the remains must be burned to prevent the problem from proliferating. This process is quite hard, since we will be practically ending all our effort. However, few ways are so effective in preventing the plague from jumping into other species.
There are some insects that are predatory species of the tomato tuta , such as Macrolophus caligonosus or Nesidiocoris tenuis . That is why we can buy these insects with the aim of ending the plague. It may be a good idea, but the truth is that it is a method that requires a lot of control, and success is not guaranteed.
It will also be necessary to verify that the insects that are going to be introduced will not end up devouring another species that we have planted in the garden.
If you are looking for how to combat the absolute tuta of tomato ecologically , neem oil is what you need. This oil is unbearable for the plague, so, well applied, it can help us to solve the problem from one moment to another.
Experts recommend us to apply it on the structure of the using a sprayer .
These traps are quite similar to pheromone traps . However, the operation is slightly different: in this case, the moths are not attracted to pheromones, if not by a color plate. The moment he arrives at it, they will remain stuck.
We can buy them commercially, or make a homemade trap by applying a little Eva rubber and glue for rats.
In the same way as pheromone traps, this method is usually quite effective. We will only have to worry about placing the trap in the right place, the one in which it will be easier for the plague of the absolute tuta to remain stuck .
This compound is a special powder that must be diluted in water before being applied. In the case that you want to use to treat the tomato of the tomato , it should be applied on the leaves from top to bottom for an approximate period of a couple of weeks. It is considered an effective insecticide for tomato tomato; but before its application, all the risks of conventional insecticides on the rest of the crop will have to be evaluated.
However, it is an ecological treatment, while effective. From the first application, the larvae will ingest the tissues of the bacteria. When this sporula will create crystals-endotoxins of proteins that will perform an insecticide action. The spores will be activated in the digestive system of the insect, ending its ability to feed. In the end he will end up starving, so the plague will not survive in any way.
As you can see, there are many ways to fight the plague of the absolute tuta , although it should start as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading.