Economic injury level and crop loss assessment for Tuta absoluta on different tomato cultivars

Specifying the relationship between pests and their host plants in terms of damage is one of the basic concepts of integrated pest management (IPM) programmes.

The crop loss and economic injury level (EIL) of Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) were determined on different tomato cultivars using gain threshold (field experiment) and regression (semi‐field experiment) methods.

By assessing the crop loss in 2015 and 2016, four out of seven infested tomato cultivars had a significant yield loss in terms of weight of total fruits versus the control under the open‐field conditions. However, the total number of tomato cultivars had no significant difference to control treatment. The semi‐field experiment included six treatments (0, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 gravid females/plant) and examined two tomato cultivars. The tomato cages with between 6 and 10 gravid females/plant showed the highest number and weight of damaged fruits.

Based on pesticide control costs, the market value of tomato and the control efficacy, researchers determined the EIL for T. absoluta. In the field experiment, the EIL value for T. absoluta on “Petomech,” “Cal JN3,” “Rio Grande” and “Early Urbana Y” cultivars was 4.15, 4.47, 4.70 and 5.04 larvae per plant, respectively. Based on regression equations, they calculated the EIL values for T. absoluta on “Cal JN3” and “Early Urbana Y” to be 4.75 and 5.44 larvae/plant, respectively.

Crop loss assessment and EIL are necessary components of cost‐effective IPM programs and can be effective tools for making decisions about the application of pesticides against T. absoluta.

Access the full study in the Journal of Applied Entomology

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