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1 December 2012 Biological Control Strategies for the South American Tomato Moth (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in Greenhouse Tomatoes
Tomas Cabello, Juan R. Gallego, Francisco J. Fernandez, Manuel Gamez, Enric Vila, Modesto Del Pino, Estrella Hernandez—Suarez
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Abstract

The South American tomato pinworm, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) has been introduced into new geographic areas, including the Mediterranean region, where it has become a serious threat to tomato production. Three greenhouse trials conducted in tomato crops during 2009 and 2010 explored control strategies using the egg-parasitoid Trichogramma achaeae Nagaraja and Nagarkatti compared with chemical control. The effectiveness of the predator Nesidiocoiis tenuis (Reuter) was also tested. In greenhouses with early pest infestations (discrete generations), periodic inundative releases (eight releases at a rate of 50 adults/m2, twice a week) were necessary to achieve an adequate parasitism level (85.63 ± 5.70%) early in the growing season. However, only one inoculative release (100 adults/m2) was sufficient to achieve a comparatively high parasitism level (91.03 ± 12.58%) under conditions of high pest incidence and overlapping generations. Some intraguild competition was observed between T. achaeae and the predator, N. tenuis. This mirid species is commonly used in Mediterranean greenhouse tomato crops for the control of the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius). Tomato cultivars were also observed to influence the activity of natural enemies, mainly N. tenuis (whose average numbers ranged between 0.17 ± 0.03 and 0.41 ± 0.05 nymphs per leaf depending on the cultivar). This may be because of differences in plant nutrients in different cultivars, which may affect the feeding of omnivorous insects. In contrast, cultivar effects on T. achaeae were less apparent or possibly nonexistent. Nevertheless, there was an indirect effect in as much as T. achaeae was favored in cultivars not liked by N. tenuis.

© 2012 Entomological Society of America
Tomas Cabello, Juan R. Gallego, Francisco J. Fernandez, Manuel Gamez, Enric Vila, Modesto Del Pino, and Estrella Hernandez—Suarez "Biological Control Strategies for the South American Tomato Moth (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in Greenhouse Tomatoes," Journal of Economic Entomology 105(6), 2085-2096, (1 December 2012). https://doi.org/10.1603/EC12221
Received: 31 May 2012; Accepted: 5 September 2012; Published: 1 December 2012
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KEYWORDS
cultivar
Nesidiocoris tenuis
release strategy
Trichogramma achaeae
Tuta absoluta
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