NIHORT proffers solution to reduce tomato pest

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The National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan, says the installation of a Tuta Trap Tray (TTT) is one of the most potent means of reducing the menace of Tuta Absoluta in tomato farms.

Dr Abiola Oke, the Chief Research Officer, Vegetable Research Programme, NIHORT, said this on Tuesday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.

She stressed that a sustainable management of the Tuta Absoluta pest must target all the four developmental stages of the moth, which were egg, larva, pupa and adult.

She said that Metarhizium Anisopliae was a naturally occurring beneficial fungus in the soil, which could be cultured and mass produced to use as bio-insecticide.

“It is registered as Recharge (R) by Russell Integrated Pest Management (IPM). To use it, dilute 100g Recharge (R) in 100 litres of water per acre; apply to nursery soil at planting and transplanting on the field,” she said.

Oke, an entomologist, said that the adult population of Tuta Absoluta should be monitored, right from nursery to the field, to detect infestation of tomato farms before any damage by setting up Tuta Trap Tray (TTT) to attract and kill adult moths.

“The TTT must be placed on the soil among plants in the field, a lamp should be put on to attract adult moths in the night and at dawn when they lay most of their eggs.

“Farmers should always remove, burn infested leaves and fruits from the farm; they should weed the whole surroundings and burn debris; they should also not plant alternative hosts such as Irish potato and garden egg,” she said.

The entomologist also said that natural enemies such as parasitoid and predator were beneficial insects that could help to suppress the population of the Tuta Absoluta pest in the field.

Oke defined parasitoid as an insect which lived on or in the body of another insect called a host before killing the host eventually, while the predator was an insect that fed on other insects.

She advised farmers against using a single insecticide over a long time, saying that they should rather adopt the use of a mixture of insecticides.

“Some insecticides have widespread report of resistance to Tuta Absoluta; these are Spinosad, Bifenthrin, Cartap, Deltamethrin, Permethrin, Cypermethrin, Indoxacarb, Methamidophos.

“They also include: Diflubenzuron, Triflumuron, Metaflumizone, Lamb-dacyhalothrin and Ampligo.

“Also in Nigeria, the indiscriminate use of the insecticides has resulted in the development of resistance by Tuta Absoluta; therefore, continuous usage of insecticides must be discouraged,” she said.

Oke said that the pest was part of the ecosystem that could not be eradicated, adding that pragmatic efforts should, however, be made to manage and contain its spread.

Biola Lawal

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