Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control, 25(3), 2015, 655-661
Proceeding of 4th International Conference, ESPCP2015, Cairo, Egypt, 19-22 October 2015
Integrated Pest Management of the Tomato Leaf Miner, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick)
(Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in Tomato Fields in Egypt
Goda*, N. F.; A. H. El-Heneidy*; K. Djelouah** and N. Hassan***
*Plant Protection Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center, Giza, Egypt, firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Instituto Agronomico Mediterraneo di Bari, Ciheam, Italy.
***Russell IPM Ltd, England.
(Received: October 4, 2015 and Accepted: December 5, 2015)
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L) is universally one of the most important vegetable crops worldwide. In Egypt, the
crop is cultivated annually in 2-3 plantations. The tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)
is one of the recent devastating pests attacking tomato crop in several countries. It is a new exotic pest in Egypt. A study
to evaluate the efficacy of integrated control methods against the pest was carried out at Fayoum Governorate, Egypt in
the tomato Nili plantation (September – December) of 2014. Based on the infestation reduction rate, release of the egg
parasitoid, Trichogrammatoidea bactrae + mass trapping (plot B) showed best results, followed by the application with
Biotrine and Fytomax + mass trapping (plot A) and lastly use of insecticides (control) (plot C). Respective seasonal rate
of infestation was 9.2, 11.1 and 29.3%. Highest yield production and cost benefits were recorded in plot (B).
Key words: Tomato, Tuta absoluta, Trichogrammatoidea bactrae, IPM, Cost benefit, Egypt.
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is universally considered one of the most important vegetable crops
worldwide. This crop is subject to attack with scores of insect pests and diseases that affect its production. The
tomato leaf minor (TLM), Tuta (Scrobipalpuloides) absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) is one of
the major devastating insect pests attacking tomato in many of the tomato-producing regions worldwide. It is
originated from south America, rapidly invaded various European countries and spread very fast along the
Mediterranean Basin including Egypt (Desneux et al., 2010). It is considered a key agriculture threat to
European and North Africa tomato production (Germain et al., 2009). Tomato is known as the main host of T.
absoluta, but it also feeds, develops and reproduces on other solanaceous plants such as potato, tobacco,
eggplant, pepper, aubergines, black nightshade and several related weeds such as jimson weed (Pereyra and
Sanchez, 2006). Severe infestation with T. absoluta can potentially result in significant damage by feeding on
all aerial parts of tomato plant, causing economic losses of up to 80-100%, if the pest is not properly managed
(Desneux et al., 2010). However, the main damage is usually observed on the leaves and fruits, but
inflorescences and stems can also be affected. Eggs of T. absoluta are deposited chiefly on the leaves, singly
or in small groups, and the larvae attack leaves, stems and fruits. Larvae of T. absoluta feed on the mesophyll
of the leaf leaving only the epidermis intact with its feces, which subsequently widens and then the damaged
tissue dries. Under intense attack, the damaged leaves turn yellow, wither, and senescence; the fruits are
destroyed; and the plant is ultimately die (Maluf et al., 1997).
At present, depending on the cropping system and infestation intensity, the main control tools used against
TLM rely too heavily on conventional insecticides that have led to the development of insecticide resistance
(Haddi, 2012). In addition, the problems of using chemical control are further exacerbated by awareness of
environmental pollution, toxicity to natural enemies and increasing risks to human and mammals (Tillman et
al., 2000). Therefore, the use of insecticides has become subordinated to other control methods, such as
biological control singly and/or in integrated with other methods as use of aggregation pheromones and
biopesticides that have gained more credibility in the last decades (Senior et al., 2001; Agamy, 2003 and
Mandour et al., 2012). Biological control using natural enemies would be the concerted use as a major
component of any integrated pest management (IPM) program for controlling TLM. Egg parasitoid species
of family Trichogrammatidae are considered efficient biological control agents and are widely used
commercially for the suppression and control of lepidopterous pests on many crops (Agamy, 2003). More
than 32 million hectares are treated worldwide using different species of Trichogramma (Mills, 2010). They
are easy to rear and release either in open fields or protected crops (Chailleux et al., 2012)mostly through
innudative releases (Mills, 2010). Selection of the appropriate Trichogramma species for controlling a given
insect pest is a crucial factor to the success of biological control program (Desneux et al., 2010; Mills, 2010
and Chailleux et al., 2012).
The present study aimed to monitoring of T. absoluta population in tomato fields using pheromone traps,
estimate natural rate of infestation of the pest in tomato fields at Fayoum Governorate, Egypt, testing an IPM
package based on use of sex pheromone aggregation traps + use of biorational solutions or a biocontrol agent
comparing with use of conventional pesticides. Cost-benefit of the package was also estimated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The tested biorational solutions used in this study were Fytomax N and Biotrine produced by Russell IPM
Company, UK. These two products are highly recommended for controlling T. absoluta in vegetables crops.
1- Fytomax N: is a bio-rational solution based on Azadirachtin 1% (10000 ppm) extracted from the neem tree
seeds Azadirachta indica in ULV formulation. Fytomax N prevents or interferes with an insect’s
development. It has an ovicidal effect and controls target pests by contact as well as by ingestion. It acts as
repellent, antifeedant, and interference with the molting process of insect pest. Treated insects stop feeding
2- Biotrine: is a bio-rational solution based on a natural fermentation of the soil bacterium Streptomyces
avermitilis. It is a broad spectrum in its action, killing insects through contact and as they feed on treated
plants. Biotrine works by paralyzing the insect, contact, ingestion and by suffocation. It acts as an
antifeedant product with residual protection for the crop.
Soapy water traps
Pheromone lures used in this study were obtained from Russell IPM Company, UK. Rubber septa dispenser
of 120 days was used. Water traps were used for monitoring and mass- trapping program. Trap designs vary
and can be as simple as deep plastic trays filled with soapy water and with the pheromone lure suspended over
the center of the tray just above the water line attracted moths become trapped when they touch the soapy
Trichogrammatoidea bactrae Nagaraja and Nagarkatti
The egg parasitoid species T. bactrae was recommended to be used against the pest. Parasitoid cards,
included parasitized Sitotroga cerallela eggs, provided by Dr. El–Heneidy (Dept. of Biological Control,
Agriculture Research Centre, Giza, Egypt), were kindly hanged directly in the field on the tomato plants.
Methodology and experimental design
An experimental area of one hectare (equal 2.5 feddan) (feddan = 4200 m2) located at Fayoum governorate
Egypt, cultivated with tomato plants, variety Gold stone (planted in the nursery on 20th of June and transplanted
to the permanent field by early August), was subdivided into three experimental plots. The experiment was
carried out at the tomato plantation (September- January), which is so-called Nili plantation. Plot A (one
feddan) was subdivided into 4 subplots (A1 – A4) as replicates and treated with Bio-rational solutions. Plot B
(one feddan) was subdivided into 4 subplots (B1 – B4) as replicates and was treated by releasing T. bactrae
(at two release rates; 60000 and 100000 parasitoids per feddan). Plot C (control) (½ feddan) was subdivided
into 2 subplots (C1 and C2) as replicates and left for regular practices carried out by the grower himself,
depends mainly on use of pesticides. The pheromone-soapy water basin traps were placed at all the
experimental plots. Metrological data (minimum, maximum temperature and relative humidity (RH) in the
region of the experiment throughout the experimental period was obtained from the metrological station of
Fayoum, located in the Agricultural Research Station, Fayoum, Egypt.
Monitoring of pest population
A total of 10 pheromone traps per hectare (4 per feddan), obtained and recommended by Russell IPM, UK
were placed as 4, 4 and 2 traps in plots A, B and C, respectively as mass-trapping. Trap catches were examined
and counted twice a week throughout the tomato growing season that extended from early September 2014 to
early January 2015.
Estimation of the rate of infestation with T. absoluta
A total of 100 plants (25 plants/ replicate)/ plot was examined weekly and rate of infestation (no. of mines
in the leaves, stems and fruits/plant) was counted and recorded at the three experimental plots A, B and C,
starting early September until harvesting.
Experimental plot A (Biorational solutions’ trial)
Four pheromone–soapy water traps were placed, one trap/ replicate, at each of the subplots A1, A2, A3 and
A4. By catching the first T. absoluta moth in any of the plot traps, the plot was treated weekly by one of the
two tested compounds; Biotrine and Fytomax N, alternatively until harvesting.
Experimental plot B (Parasitoid’s trial)
Four pheromone–soapy water traps were placed, one trap/ replicate, at each of the subplots B1, B2, B3 and
B4. By catching the first T. absoluta moth in the plot traps, the plot was treated bi-weekly by releasing the egg
parasitoid T. bactrae at two release rates; 60000 and 100000 parasitoids per feddan. The first rate (15000
parasitoids per subplot) was applied in subplots B1 and B2, while the second rate (25000 parasitoids per
subplot) was applied in subplots B3 and B4. Each was considered as a replicate. Releases were applied until
Experimental plot C (Control)
Half feddan (2100 m2) was subdivided into 2 subplots (2 replicates) (C1 and C2), each replicate (about
1000 m2). Two pheromone– soapy water traps were placed, one trap/ replicate at the subplots C1 and C2. The
plot was sprayed by the grower himself using recommended pesticides in the region, without any interference.
Pesticides names, rates and dates of application were recorded.
Cost-benefits of IPM packages
At the end of harvesting, cost-benefits of using each of the IPM packages; bio-rational solutions, biological
control and pesticides application (control) were estimated. The costs included the costs of purchasing the
traps, materials and labor cost at each plot.
Obtained date was subject to statistical analysis using the computer program one way ANOVA and T test.
Means were compared by Duncan's Multiple Range test.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Data of the trap catches of T. absoluta moths in the pheromone traps placed in the experimental field at
Fayoum Governorate, Egypt in tomato Nili plantation of 2014 was summarized in table (1). By early
September 2014, the beginning of the study in the permanent field, 2 pheromone traps were placed in plot C
(control plot) for monitoring the pest population. The first catches (7 moths/ trap) were found on September
9th. Accordingly, other traps were placed in plots A and B (treatments) (4 traps/ plot = a rate of 10/ hectare) to
serve for monitoring as well as mass-trapping control method. The first records 3.75 and 7.75 moths/ trap in
plots A and B, respectively were recorded on September 12th. Occurrence of the moths continued throughout
the whole study period September 2014 – January 2015. The month of October represented the highest mean
numbers of moth catches/ traps (46.8 moths), followed by November (27.6 moths), while the months of
September and December were the lowest (16 moths) (Table, 1 and Fig. 1).
The technique of mass trapping with pheromone has been widely used for the control of different insect species
(Rodriguez-Saona and Stelinski, 2009).These findings agree with those reported earlier by Ltd (2009b) who
mentioned that mass trapping can be used to reduce T. absoluta populations and it is particularly useful in
production of greenhouse tomatoes. Also, Salas (2004) reported that water traps were the most common
pheromone traps used for mass trapping of T. absoluta, as they are easier to maintain and less sensitive to dust
than Delta or light traps and also have a larger trapping capacity than Delta traps. Cocco et al. (2012) stated
that use of mass trapping alone for controlling male T. absoluta populations was not effective in reducing leaf
and fruit damage.
Seasonal general mean of trap catches in plot C (control) was 23 and 27% higher than that in plots A and
B, respectively. Total catch difference between plots A and B was 8% in favor of plot A. Number of moth
catches in plot C was lower than that in plots A and B in September, while it was higher in the other three
months, especially in December. Peak numbers of the moth catches (60, 82 and 84 moths/ trap) was recorded
on October 27th, 19th and 19th in plots A, B and C, respectively. As well, the month of October represented the
highest mean numbers of moth catches/ trap (43.6, 42.5 and 54.5 moths/ trap) in plots A, B and C, respectively
(Table.1 and Fig. 2).
Percentages of infestation
Percentages of infestation with T. absoluta at Fayoum Governorate, Egypt in the tomato Nili plantation of
2014 were summarized in tables 2, 3 and 4.
Plot A: treated weekly by each of Biotrine and Fytomax N alternatively, started September 21st and ended
November 23rd. Each compound was treated 5 times; Biotrine on 21/9, 5/10, 19/10, 2/11 and 16/11/2014 and
Table (1): Monthly mean numbers of T. absoluta moth catches/ trap in pheromone traps placed in different
experimental plots at Fayoum Governorate, Egypt in the tomato Nili plantation of 2014
Trap Catches (No. of moths/trap) Mean
Plot A (Plant extracts) Plot B (Release of T. bactrae) Plot C (Control)
A1 A2 A3 A4 Mean B1 B2 B3 B4 Mean C1 C2 Mean
September 16.5 14.5 18.5 17.16 16.66 14.66 13.66 21.16 36 21.37 9.7 10.4 10.05 16.03
October 49.5 68 40.6 46.3 51.1 40.12 40.3 42.5 47.1 42.5 50.5 58.5 54.5 49.37
November 32.2 26.1 21.8 21.7 25.5 23.7 26.4 19.3 38.2 26.9 34.4 32.2 33.33 28.57
December 6.5 7.6 8.5 9 7.9 4.8 5.3 10.8 6.5 6.9 34.7 38 36.35 17.05
Grand mean 23.48 22.63 22.61 23.94 25.3 21.35 22.13 23.48 32.53 24.4 33.14 35.46 32.1
Fig. (1): Monthly mean no. of T. absoluta
moths/trap/plot at Fayoum Governorate,
Egypt in the tomato Nili plantation of 2014.
Fig. (2): Monthly mean percentages of infestation
with T. absoluta in different treated plots at
Fayoum Governorate, Egypt in the tomato
plantation of 2014.
Table (2): Monthly mean rates of infestation with
T. absoluta (no. of mines/ plant) at Plot (A)
(sprayed with biorational solution) at Fayoum
Governorate, Egypt in the tomato Nili
plantation of 2014
A1 A2 A3 A4 Mean
September 9.3 9.3 5.3 5.3 7.3
October 9.6 10.4 8 7.2 8.2
November 19 23 13 10 16.3
December 10 18 13 7 12
Grand mean 12 15.2 9.8 7.4 11.1
Table (3): Monthly mean rates of infestation with T.
absolutaat Plot (B) (release of T. bactrae) at
Fayoum Governorate, Egypt in the tomato Nili
plantation of 2014
B1 B2 B3 B4 Mean
September 8 1.3 5.3 5.3 5
October 7.2 7.2 13.6 6.4 8.6
November 11 17 13 7 12
December 10 10 17 7 11
Grand mean 9.1 8.9 12.2 6.4 9.2
Table (4): Monthly mean rates of infestation with
T. absoluta at Plot (C) (control -sprayed with
pesticides) at Fayoum Governorate, Egypt in the
tomato Nili plantation of 2014
C1 C2 Mean
I II I II
September 18.7 0 8 0 13.3
October 24 0 29.6 0 26.8
November 60 0 61 0 60.5
December 46 10 47 14 20
Grand mean 37.2 10 36.4 14 29.3
I = > 3 mines/plant II = 4 -10 mines/plant
III = < 11 mines/plan
Table (5): Estimated yield production of tomato,
control costs and cost benefits in the experimental
plots of different control methods at Fayoum
Governorate, Egypt during the tomato Nili
A 14.36 21540 873.8 20666
B 15.2 22800 505.2 22295
C 13.4 20100 1180 18920
Feddan = 0.4 hectare
One US $ = 7.5 L.E.
Fytomax N on 28/9,12/10, 26/10, 9/11 and 23/11/2014. Monthly rate of infestation started with (7.3%)
in September, increased in the following months to reach (8.2%) in October, (16.3%) in November and then
reduced to (12%) in December (Table 2 and Fig. 2). Rates of infestation were always less, following
the application with Biotrine than that following Fytomax, except the application practiced by early November
(Table 2). Seasonal rate of infestation at plot A was 70% less than the control (pesticides’ treatments).
Statistical analysis showed highly significant difference between the use of Bio-rational solutions
(t= 0.00111**) and the control.
Current management of TLM in Egypt as a part of Mediterranean Basin is mainly based on treatment with
chemical insecticides (González-Cabrera et al., 2011). Nevertheless, few bio-rational solutions are effective
against TLM and selective to beneficial insects at the same time. Obtained results revealed that it is possible
to reduce the tomato leaf miner impact by applying Biotrine and Fytomax N alternatively + mass trapping
combination which showed promising results in controlling the pest. The Azadirachtin based-bio-rational
solution Fytomax N had great efficacy towards T. absoluta. These findings agree with those reported earlier
by Tomé et al. (2013) who found that Azadirachtin caused high mortality in insect larvae allowing only
2.5–3.5% survival. Also, Servicio de Sanidad (2008) who recommended use of Azadirachtin as a preventive
spray and for light infestations (< 30 adult catches per week) of T. absoluta in Spain. Abamectin based bio-
rational solution Biotrine efficiency was also confirmed under field conditions. These findings are in agreement
with those reported earlier by Zalom et al. (208)who recommended abamectin for controlling the tomato
pinworm in IPM programs. Salvo and Valladares (2007) stated that abamectin is primarily a stomach poison
and has some contact activity, therefore it is used against mites and leaf miners Also, it had a good translaminar
action, penetrating the leaf surfaces of the host plant. Moussa et al. (2013) mentioned that abamectin provided
excellent control against T. absoluta in Egypt. Mass trapping and using of Biotrine alternatively with Ftyomax
N induced showed a better control of the pest. Rates of infestation were always less, following the application
with Biotrine than that following Fytomax N and this is maybe an evidence of the efficacy of the Biotrine.
Generally, seasonal rate of infestation was much less than the control (pesticides’ treatments).
Plot B: treated biweekly by 2 rates of the egg parasitoid, T. bactrae; 60000 (in subplots B1 and B2) and
100000 (in subplots B3 and B4) parasitoids/ feddan. Dates of releases were on25/9, 9/10, 23/10, 6/11 and
20/11/2014. Releases started on September 25th and ended November 20th. Both release rates were applied
5 times. Monthly rate of infestation started with (5%) in September, increased in the following months to reach
(8.6%) in October, (12%) in November and continued around the same level (11%) in December (Table 3 and
Fig. 2). Rates of infestation were almost similar at the 2 different rates of releases in September, increased
slightly in October at the high rate of release and then a vice versa was recorded in November (Table 3 and
Fig. 2). Total seasonal mean rate of infestation with T. absoluta at Fayoum in the Nili tomato plantation of
2014 was nearly equivalent in plots A and B (11.1 and 9.2%, respectively). Seasonal rate of infestation at plot
B was 75% less than the control (pesticides’ treatments) and 17% less than applying Biotrine or Fytomax.
Statistical analysis showed highly significant difference between the use of T. bactrae(t=0.003587**) and the
control. Also, insignificant difference was found between the two rates of releasing T. bactrae (t= 0.086433)
in plot B.
T. bactrae is one of the most effective parasitoid against TLM as indicated by the higher percentages of
parasitism (Abd El-Hady, 2014). In the present study, obtained results revealed that these oophagous parasitoid
would play crucial role for management of TLM. Abd El-Hady (2014) stated that increasing the number of
released parasitoids caused significant increase of parasitization and the seasonal rate of infestation was
obviously less than the control (pesticides’ treatments) and relatively than the bio-rational solutions. Such
result is evidence of the efficacy of the combining of mass trapping technique and release of T. bactrae in
management of TLM. Abbes et al. (2012)recorded 20% infestation of leaves in the IPM cropping system (mass
trapping + release of Nesidiocoris tenuis) versus 98% in the conventional cropping system and the infestation
rate of fruits was 18.2% in the IPM cropping system versus 46.8% in the conventional one.
Plot C: (control plot), treated 7 times by the grower, using three different pesticides; Nomolt 15% SC (2 times),
Pleo 50% EC (2 times) and Oshin 20% SG (3 times). Dates of application were as follow: Nomolt 15% SC on
18/10 and 22/11/2014 & Pleo 50% EC on 7 and 13/11/2014 & Oshin 20% SG on 22/10, 28/11 and 2/12/2014.
Monthly mean rate of infestation with the pest increased from 13.3% in September to 26.8% in October, to
60.5% in November and then decreased to 29.3% in December (Table 4 and Fig. 2). Seasonal mean rate of
infestation was obviously higher in plot C (29.3%) than in the other 2 plots, 11.1 and 9.2% at plots A and B,
respectively. This indicates that application of either Biotrine or Fytomax or release of parasitoid achieved
about 70-75% less rates of infestation than using pesticides.
Fig. (3): General mean percentages of infestaion
with T. absoluta in different treated plots at
Fayoum Governorate, Egypt in the tomato
Nili plantation of 2014.
Although plot C was treated 7 times by the pesticides (Nomolt 15% SC, Pleo 50% EC and Oshin 20% SG),
highest total rate of infestation (36.8%) was recorded in it (Fig. 2). Percentages of infestation did not exceed
level one (> 3 mines/ plant) in plots A and B throughout the experimental period. Level 2 (4-10 mines/ plant)
was recorded twice in the pesticide plot (C) by late December (Table 4). Highest monthly mean percentage of
infestation (60.5%) was recorded in plot C (control) in November, while it was 16.3 and 12% in plots A and
B, respectively in the same month (Fig. 3). Generally, the peak number of moths/ trap, recorded in the
pheromone traps in October (46.8 moths), led to an increase in the pest’s rates of infestation in the all
experimental plots in November (Fig. 2).
Treatment with the parasitoid releases in plot B (5 times) showed least mean percentages of infestation
(9.2%) compared with (11.1%) in the bio-rational solutions treatment (plot A) (treated 10 times) (Fig. 3).
In conclusion, applying an IPM packages depended upon mass trapping plus either release of the parasitoid,
T. bactrae or applying Biotrine or Fytomax achieved best rates of reduction of T. absoluta infestation at
Fayoum in the Nili tomato plantation of 2014. Further studies are needed for other tomato plantations as
different rates of the pest population are expected.
Cost benefit = costs of yield production – control costs. Data shown in table (5) demonstrated that the
highest yield production, production costs and cost benefit in the experimental plots of the tomato Nili
plantation, 2014 was recorded in plot B, where the egg parasitoid T. bactrae was released five times combined
with mass-trapping, followed by plot A (using bio-rational solution integrated with mass trapping). On other
hand, using insecticides in plot C (control) gave the lowest yield production and highest costs. Plot B showed
11.8 and 5.3% higher in yield production (ton/feddan) than plot C and A, respectively and correspondent less
control costs 57.19 and 42.18%. Seasonal cost benefit achieved in the experimental plots was 15.14 and 7.31%
higher in plot B than that in plot C and A, respectively. Besides, the other advantages of using the safe
biocontrol method directly on the crop and indirectly on the environment.
Thanks are due to the Istituto Agronomico Mediterraneo di Bari (IAMB), Italy for funding and supervising
this study as part of a M. Sc. in Integrated Pest Management Program.
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