Pest Affecting Tomoto Production – Free Online Agri Studymaterial


Fruit borer Helicoverpa armigera (Noctuidae: Lepidoptera)

  • It is a major pest of tomato. Main hosts are gram, cotton, citrus, indigo, cowpea, groundnut, linseed, sunflower, bhendi, chilli, millets, tobacco, etc. 
  • Young larvae feed on tender foliage and full-grown caterpillars attack fruits. 
  • They make circular boreholes and thrust their head inside fruit and eat inner contents. 
  • Caterpillars move from one fruit to another and one caterpillar eats 2-8 fruits. 
  • Caterpillars are cannibalistic – freshly hatched larvae feed on eggs and the older caterpillars prey upon younger ones. 
  • Full-grown larvae drop from the plants and burrow into the soil and pupate therein. Pupal period is 10-14 days. 
  • Adult is a medium sized light brown stout moth with a “V’ shaped speck on the fore wing. Hind wings are with dull black border. 

Leaf eating /Tobacco caterpillar Spodoptera litura (Noctuidae: Lepidoptera)

  • It is also a widely distributed polyphagous pest. 
  • Though tobacco and tomato are main host plants, it also infests banana, citrus, cabbage, cauliflower, colocasia, cowpea, gram, groundnut, castor, cotton, maize, millets, mulberry, bhendi, peas, rice, sorghum, yam, etc. 
  • Female lays dirty white coloured eggs in cluster on the undersurface of the leaves and covered with brown hair. 
  • Freshly hatched larvae feed gregariously, scrapping the leaves from ventral surface. 
  • Full-grown caterpillar is pale brown with a greenish to violet tinge. There are yellow and purplish spots present in the sub-marginal areas. They feed voraciously during night and hide in the morning. 
  • Entire crop is defoliated overnight. Dark greenish black faecal pellets are seen beneath crop canopy. Pupation takes place in the soil in earthen cocoon for 7-11 days.
  • Adults are stout, with wavy white markings on the brown fore wings and white hind wings having a brown patch along its margin.

Whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Aleyrodidae: Hemiptera)

  • Its main hosts are cotton, tobacco and vegetables like tomato, brinjal and bhendi. 
  • It is more active during dry season and its activity is reduced with the onset of rain. 
  • Nymphs and adults suck the sap from the tender leaves. 
  • The affected leaves become yellowish, the leaves wrinkle and curl downward and are ultimately shed. 
  • These insects also exude honey dew which favour the development of sooty mould. 
  • These insects also act as vector, transmit leaf curl virus disease and cause severe loss.
  • Eggs are pear-shaped, light yellowish in colour. 
  • Nymphs are oval, scale-like and greenish white in colour,
  • On hatching the nymphs, settle down on a succulent spot on the leaves. 
  • Pupal period lasts for 2-8 d. 
  • White, tiny, scale-like adults usually crowd in between the veins on ventral side of leaves. 

Spiraling whiteflies Aleurodicus dispersus Aleyrodidae Hemiptera

  • It is an introduced polyphagous pest of vegetables, fruit trees, ornamentals and shade trees.It is native of the Caribbean Islands and Central America. 
  • It is widely distributed in almost all countries due to rapid dispersal and adaptability.
  • It is reported that spiraling whiteflies is found on 128 plants including agricultural, horticultural and weed plants. Important host plant are guava, cassava, cotton, chillies, tomato, brinjal, bhendi, papaya, crotons and weeds such as Euphorbia, Corchorus, Eclipta, Vernonia, Vicoa, Acalypha, Alternanthra, Amaranthus, Convolvulus, Abutilon etc.
  • Adults and nymphs congregate heavily on the lower surface of leaf, suck the sap and cause pre-mature leaf drop, chlorosis, yellow speckling, crinkling and curling. 
  • Honey dew secretion also leads to the development of sooty mould fungus. 
  • Eggs are laid in a spiraling pattern (concentric circles) on the undersurface of leaves. 
  • Adults are larger than whitefly species and white in colour with waxy coating on the body. 
  • Eyes are dark reddish brown. 
  • Fore wings are with three characteristic spots.

Serpentine leaf miner, Liriomyza trifolii (Agromyzidae: Diptera)

  • It is of recent origin and an introduced pest. Females thrust eggs into the epidermal layer of leaves. 
  • Minute orange-yellowish apodous maggots mine epidermal layer of the leaves and cause serpentine mines on leaves. 
  • This results in drying and drooping of leaves.
  • Adults are minute and pale yellow in colour. 

Tailed or striped mealy bugs Ferrisia virgata (Pseudococcidae: Hemiptera)

  • It is a major pest of tomato and has a wide range of host plants such as beans, cashew, cassava, coffee, cocoa, citrus, cotton, groundnut, guava, jute, sugarcane, sweet potato and tomato.
  • It is active throughout the year and less active during winter.
  • Both nymphs and adults suck the sap from the tender leaves and twigs and cause stunted growth.
  • Eggs are pale-yellow and cylindrical. Freshly hatched crawlers are yellowish and become pale-white. 
  • Adults are long, slender, covered with dusty white waxy secretion and have a pair of long tail-like tassels at the caudal end. 

Thrips Thrips tabaci and Frankliniella schultzei (Thripidae: Thysanoptera)

  • Frankliniella schultzei is a vector and transmits the tomato spotted wilt virus and cause bud necrosis

Spotted leaf beetle or Hadda beetle Epilachna spp. (Coccinellidae: Coleoptera)

Aphids Aphis gossypii and Myzus persicae (Aphididae: Hemiptera) 

Cabbage green semilooper Trichoplusia ni (Noctuidae: Lepidoptera) 

Leaf hoppers Amrasca devastans (Cicadellidae: Hemiptera)

Fruit sucking moths Othreis fullonica and O. materna (Noctuidae: Lepidoptera) 

Red spider mite Tetranychus cinnabarinus (Tetranychidae: Acarina)

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