New insight into the management of the tomato leaf miner, tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) with entomopathogenic nematodes

Shokoofeh Kamali, Javad Karimi, Albrecht M. Koppenhöfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), is a serious threat to tomato production in the world. Due to serious issues with insecticide resistance, there is a dire need for alternative control methods. Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) have potential for the biological control of T. absoluta. In the laboratory, we examined the effect of temperature, soil type, and exposure time on the efficacy of the EPN species Steinernema carpocapsae (Nematoda: Steinernematidae) and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Nematoda: Heterorhabditidae) against last-instar T. absoluta larvae. Both species caused high mortality in loamy sand (89%) and coco peat (93%) but not in sandy loam (17%). H. bacteriophora caused 92−96% mortality at 19, 25, and 31°C; S. carpocapsae caused 89−91% mortality at 25 and 31°C but only 76% at 19°C. Both species caused similar mortality levels after 65-min exposure; thereafter, mortality increased only with S. carpocapsae reaching high levels even at a low concentration. Both species infected larvae within leaf galleries. When applied to whole large tomato plants in the greenhouse, both species provided similar control levels (48−51%) at high pest densities. Both species could be incorporated as an effective alternative to synthetic insecticides into T. absoluta management programs in greenhouse tomato production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 9 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


  • Abiotic factor
  • Greenhouse
  • Heterorhabditis bacteriophora
  • Insect pathology
  • Steinernema carpocapsae


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