Controlling Tuta Absoluta is one of the major challenges for growers. Bioline Agrosciences has been working with both these growers and industry stakeholders for several years to tackle this. Using the biological control product Tricholine TA as part of an IPM program, Bioline has developed a protocol which is helping tomato growers to control this troublesome pest.
Tuta absoluta, originally from South America, first occurred in the Mediterranean region in 2006, but it has since spread across Europe and far beyond. The adults lay eggs on the leaves, which will eventually hatch in to caterpillars and burrow into the surface of leaves, stems and fruits to cause characteristic damage patterns.
Without adequate control, Tuta can eventually cause complete crop loss. To support growers in their battle against Tuta, Bioline Agrosciences has developed a specially optimised IPM program. "The program is based around the use of Tricholine TA (containing the parasitic wasp, Trichogramma achaeae) to destroy the majority of eggs before they can hatch and cause damage to the crop", they explain.
Bioline has invested significantly in choosing the optimum strain of Trichogramma achaeae as well as in developing a patented dispenser to make applying the product simple, easy and reliable.
In addition to Tricholine TA, the program also uses pheromone trapping to catch arriving adults, and Macroline (Macrolophus) for controlling any caterpillars which do manage to hatch.
"The patented dispensers for Tricholine TA have been specifically created to be easy and cost effective to apply. They are designed to give a continuous release of the Trichogramma achaeae for approximately 3 weeks. Meaning the application only needs to be made every 3 weeks, making the program manageable from the perspective of time and costs. Spiros Kavouras, Commercial Manager for Bioline, said.
“We’ve run a lot of trials with our growers to be sure that we’ve developed a program that is robust and effective. It's great to see it working and the reaction of growers as they really feel a solution they can trust. For them, the key benefit is that it’s the only thing which will target the eggs, before the crop damage is caused."
Putting the puzzle together
Simon Bremer, IPM technical specialist at Bioline Agrosciences adds: “I think we’ve had each individual part of the puzzle but we’ve now put it together to make a program that’s really valuable to growers. Tricholine TA can make the difference in Tuta control programs but it is important to remember that its part of an IPM program, so the other elements of the program also have a part to play; Macroline, pheromone trapping, cultural control practices.”
“Tuta control is a huge challenge and we are proud to be helping growers with this, but the hard work doesn’t stop here!", says Cora Perez, Commercial Director for Bioline. "We know that Tricholine TA is also effective against a wide range of other lepidopteran pests, so we are working hard with stakeholders from across the industry to increase availability of this product and support growers in using it where it is needed most.”