Florida surveys for tomato leafminer

08/19/2013 09:55:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

tomato leafminer trapJ.E. Hayden, FDACS-DPI.Monitoring traps are available that contain a pheromone to attract male tomato leafminer moths.The tomato leafminer hasn't yet hit the shores of the United States.

But inspectors with the Florida Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey program are actively looking for the pest to make sure it hasn't invaded the state, according to a news release.

It is a cooperative effort between the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Tomato leafminer, known scientifically as Tuta absoluta, is native to tropical and subtropical South America.

It also has been found in many southern European countries as well as Iran, Senegal and Sudan.

The pest most likely was transported on tomatoes or plants for transplanting.

Adult moths are mottled brown and about 3/16 inch long.

They can be confused with other solanaceous pests, such as tomato pinworm and potato tuberworm, also known as tobacco leafminer.

Larvae are creem colored when young and change to green or pink as they near pupation.

Up to 10 generations occur per year.

Left untreated, the pest can cause severe damage to plants and create numerous pinholes in tomato fruit, making them unmarketable.

If you think you may have tomato leafminer, contact your local University of Florida county extension office.

For more information, including photos, of the pest, visit Fresh From Florida.

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