Combating TUTA ABSOLUTA leaf miner [American pinworm], an invasive pest on Tomato Crop


                  TUTA ABSOLUTA on tomato leaf and fruits

American pinworm [Tuta absoluta] famous as ooji fly in Kannada and uji in Telugu is one of the major and important pest of tomato. Tuta absoluta has become the serious pest with its highly damaging nature in all the stages of its life cycle. The crop losses are high as 60 to 100% due the infestation by Tuta absoluta.

                         TUTA ABSOLUTA on tomato leaf

The insect control has become difficult to manage due to its escaping nature. IPM practices may be taken to avoid and manage the pest throughout its life cycle.

Host plants: Tomato (main host), potato, brinjal, beans, tobacco, peppers.

  TUTA ABSOLUTA on Tomato crop         TUTA ABSOLUTA on potato       

                               TUTA ABSOLUTA on Brinjal

Life cycle of Tuta absoluta

Egg: Egg are creamy white to yellow and oval or cylindrical in shape, and approximately 0.35 mm long. Usually are laid on underside of leaves, buds, stems and on young developing fruits. The duration of the eggs stage lasts for 7 days.

                TUTA ABSOLUTA eggs

Larvae: Duration: 11 days

Larvae are creamy with a dark head, becoming greenish to light pink in the second to fourth instars. Length (1st instar) 0.9 mm to (4th instar) 7.5 mm.

               TUTA ABSOLUTA Larvae

Pupa: duration: 5 days

Pupa are Brown 6mm long May be found in or on the leaves or the soil, and occasionally on the flowers, fruits and stem. Larvae will fall to the ground in a silken thread, and pupate in the soil.

        TUTA ABSOLUTA Pupae

Adult: Duration: female- lives for 10-15 days and Male lives for 6-7 days.

Adult moth are brown or silver color with Black spots on the wings and are relatively small with a body length of 7 mm. The most important identifying character are the filiform (bead like structure) antenna. Adults are nocturnal and hide between leaves during the day time.

          TUTA ABSOLUTA Adults

The duration of the Tuta absoluta life cycle in different temperatures:

  1. 14°C will take approx. 76 days,
  2. 20°C will take approx. 24 days
  3. 27°C will take approx. 24 days


      TUTA ABSOLUTA life cycle

Nature of damage

In tomato, infestation found on apical buds, leaves, and stems, flowers and fruits, on which the black frass (fine powdery refuse) is visible.

On Leaves

    TUTA ABSOLUTA on tomato leaves

The larvae mine the leaves producing large galleries and burrow into the fruit making holes around fruit. After hatching, the larva immediately penetrates the plant tissue and starts feeding on the tissues in between the leaf layers.

              TUTA ABSOLUTA on tomato leaves and plant

The larvae are very unlikely to enter diapause as long as food source is available. The severe infections will lead to decrease the photosynthetic activities making plants very week

On fruits

            TUTA ABSOLUTA on tomato fruits

Fruits show puncture marks where the larva has entered fruit on the surface, with abnormal fruit shape and larvae exit holes. Attacked tomatoes are easy to spot by the exit holes and the dried frass (fine powdery material that plant-eating insects pass as waste after they digest plant parts) produced by the last larvae as they pupate.

            TUTA ABSOLUTA attack on tomato fruits

Signs of damage on the fruit are often observed under the calyx (green leaf-like organ above the fruit).

Reproduction capacity of Tuta absoluta is very high, there are up to 10-12 generations per year in favourable conditions.

Management of TUTA ABSOLUTA:

Cultural control methods:

Good agricultural practices

  • The management of Tuta absoluta include crop rotation with non-solanaceous crops (preferably Cruciferous crops).
  • Proper ploughing, sufficient irrigation and fertilization to the crop may also help in reducing the Tuta
  • Infested leaves need to be removed before the caterpillar inside the leaf is able to pupate and become an egg-laying adult moth.

                      Crop Rotation for controlling the TUTA ABSOLUTA

  • Removal of infested plants and complete removal of post-harvest plant debris and fruits will cut the life cycle where the population may be reduced.
  • The removal of wild solanaceous host plants near the growing area is also effective, as these can host all stages of the pest, which can then re-attack the growing crop.

           Non Solanaceous plants

Mechanical management:

Detection and identification

  • The use of pheromone traps[ Water traps] is a reliable method to detect the presence of Tuta absoluta. Use of pheromone traps may be helpful not only for detection of pest and also to control the pest population by disturbing its life cycle.

                      Water traps for TUTA ABSOLUTA killing

  • The use of incandescent bulb as light trap @ one bulb/150 m2 + 1 pheromone trap/300 m2 is found to be more effective in managing the Tuta absoluta.

                       Light traps for TUTA ABSOLUTA killing


    Chemical control:

    • Egg stage and larval stage insects can be killed by use of Ovicidal insecticides like neem oil Ekalux2 mL/L + Econeem plus 5 % -5 mL/L and translaminar mode of action insecticides like Abacin 1 mL/L. This spray also controls the adult flies.

                        Controlling the tuta absoluta eggs

    • Dupont Benevia200 mL per acre spray at 20 to 25 days of crop stage will control the Tuta and leaf miner

                          Benevia and Econeem for TUTA control

                    Effective Management of leaf miners Puapae by soil treatment          Effective Management of leaf miners Pupae by soil treatment with Durmet         Effective Management of leaf miners Puapae by soil treatment with soil fumigation by CALDAN

    • The combination of Lambdacyhalothrin [Karate]2 mL/L + Neem oil [Econeem plus 5 %] - 0.5 mL/L will control the TUTA ABSOLATA adults.




    For more information kindly call on 8050797979 or give missed call on 180030002434 during office hours 10 AM to 5 PM

    Senior Agronomist, BigHaat.

    Disclaimer: The performance of the product (s) is subject to usage as per manufacturer guidelines. Read enclosed leaflet of the product(s) carefully before use. The use of this product(s)/ information is at the discretion of user.


    • Nandinisri

      Namaste, thanks for your contact,, you can get all the information in this link.

    • चंदू Patidar

      पोता एप्स लूटा कंट्रोल करने के लिए कौन सा केमिकल का यूज़ करें

    • Chikote Ngombo

      This information is very helpful thanks once again.

    • Haimbanga Patrick Haingura

      I would like to know about the types of chemicals I should use on my tomatoes as pest are invading them.
      As for me I’m from Namibia how do I orderbulk chemical to reach me.

    • Ivan

      How to kill Tuta Absoluta in Tomato at Egg stage with organic

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