The Phytosanitary Warning and Information Network, RAIF, has reported that the Australian mite Aculops lycopersici, known as tomato russet mite, has been detected in the province of Almería in most of the plots where the crop's setting and harvest are already starting, and with an increase observed in recent weeks. To be precise, it is present in 1 out of every 12 plants (1 out of every 33 in the previous sampling).
The pest attacks all green parts of the plant. In tomatoes, the damage is first noticeable in the plant's lower part, moving on to leaves and stems and causing the lower part to dry.
To prevent the pest, which tends to appear in dry autumns and springs, with between 27 and 30 °C as the ideal temperature, the RAIF gives a series of recommendations to producers:
- In greenhouses, it is preferable to place meshes (with a minimum of 10×20 wires / cm2) in the side openings, roof and doors, monitoring their condition, especially of those facing the direction of the prevailing winds. Moreover, we must ensure that there are no fissures in the plastics.
- Weeds and crop residues must be removed, as they can act as a pest reservoir. Therefore, it is also very important not to abandon the crops at the end of the cycle.
- The carrying out of the new planting must be spaced out in time, being careful not to convey the pest with the usual operations done with the crop, or to carry it in clothes, footwear and work tools. Therefore, it is important to disinfect work tools before and after use.
- It is also advisable to perform crop rotations, and if you wish to apply manure, to make sure that it is well fermented and free of pests.
Lastly, the RAIF gives a series of general recommendations, such as avoiding excess foliage in the plant, allowing the proliferation of auxiliary insect populations and preventing propagation through machinery or irrigation water.