Black sticky traps and regular monitoring helps optimise Tuta control

09/06/2021 - Black sticky traps and rolls are playing a key role in the early detection and timely intervention of Tuta absoluta in tomato crops.
Sticky traps and rolls attract different flying insects due to their colour, explains Kenan Kütük - Biobest IPM and Pollination Specialist for the Middle East and Central Asia. “While yellow is attractive to whitefly, leafminers, fungus gnats and aphids etc., blue mainly attracts thrips. In contrast, black is highly attractive to tomato leafminers - Tuta absoluta.

Sticky traps and rolls are widely used by growers worldwide to detect harmful insects at an early stage and to monitor the population evolution of pests. As such, they have become an important tool for growers to determine when to release beneficials or spray.”

Damaging pests

The South American Tomato Moth, Tuta absoluta, is a damaging pest of both open field and greenhouse grown tomatoes. Hatching from eggs, the larvae begin feeding by entering the fruit, leaves, leaf stalk and/or plant stem – this way they can damage all aerial parts of the plant.

Tuta larvae feed on tomato leaves by opening ‘galleries’ between the two epidermises,” explains Kenan. “This can cause the plant to dry out completely. With a high pest population and dry growing conditions, the pest can cause 50-100% crop losses,” he warns.

Tuta absoluta leaf damage in tomato  Tuta absoluta damage
With all stages of the pest lifecycle found on tomatoes, Tuta can be spread via harvested fruits – and there are reports of it being spread via materials other than seedlings.

Cultural controls

To help prevent an outbreak, Kenan advises growers adopt a range of cultural controls:

  • Check seedlings are not contaminated with the pest
  • Remove and destroy the pest and any contaminated leaves, fruits and plants from the production area
  • Control weeds of the Solanaceae family in and around the production area - they can serve as an alternative host
  • Destroy post-harvest plant residues in contaminated areas as larvae and pupae may survive there
  • If practical, rotate crops and have a break from Solanaceae crops
  • Fertilize and irrigate in accordance with the breeding technique
  • Cover entrances and greenhouse vents with tulle (net) - to keep pest out
  • Install sticky traps/rolls to monito

Rapid detection is key

To monitor for early signs of the pest in the crop, Kenan recommends deploying black sticky traps or rolls and, if appropriate, using pheromones.

“Our black sticky traps are indispensable for the detection and monitoring of Tuta,” he says. “While being highly attractive to this pest, black does not attract Macrolophus or Nesidiocoris – both are efficient predators of the pest eggs.”

How to install traps

Kenan recommends placing the traps near expected infestation hotspots, such as by doors and facades – preferably adjacent to rows of plants.

“In young crops, sticky traps should be hung vertically just above the ground – at a height of 15-25cm,” he says. “In mature crops, the traps can be hung a little higher if appropriate - approximately 50cm above the ground.

“Attracted by the black colour, the Tuta adults get stuck to the plate. For a representative result, we recommend counting the Tuta moths on the plate at least one a week.”

Tuta absoluta graph

Benefits of BB Sticky Trap Black NHS

Biobest’s BB Sticky Traps offer a range of benefits.
“The long-lasting glue is non-toxic and water-repellent while the traps do not dry out in hot conditions,” explains Kenan. “The plates maintain their shape well - even at high temperatures and relative humidity.

“With careful monitoring, these traps detect infestations in time to intervene with a biological control programme at the ideal moment.”

Bug-Scan® T- Roll Black

Quick and easy to install, the Bug-Scan® T-Roll can save growers time and labour*.

“Featuring exclusive and innovative technology, the Bug-Scan® T-Roll incorporates specific pheromones together with the adhesive,” explains Kenan. “There is no need to install additional pheromone capsules.  

“The black T-Roll does not attract beneficial insects and is manufactured from long-lasting material with high mechanical resistance - so firmness and colour are maintained. Highly adhesive, it is also water-resistant and protected from dehydration.”

Bug-Scan T-Roll Black Bug-Scan T-Roll Black

Henan concludes with four tips for installing the Bug-Scan® T-Roll Black:

  • Always store Bug-Scan® T-Rolls in a cool (5-8 ºC) and dry place
  • Before unwinding, leave in the shade at room temperature for at least 24 hours
  • Install rolls perpendicular to the floor, not more than 1 meter above the upper edge of the tape – try to keep tape taut and stretched.
  • Use suspension frames for installation of the tapes.

*Local regulations may impose restrictions on the use of Bug-Scan® T Roll Black. Contact your authorities or contact your Biobest consultant.

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