STUDY ON MONITORING AND COMBATING THE ATTACK OF TUTA ABSOLUTA ON TOMATOES CULTIVATED IN PROTECTED SPACES IN SOUTH ROMANIA
Lately, for tomatoes grown in protected spaces there is another limiting factor, an extremely dangerous pest (Tuta absoluta). Tuta absoluta is an extremely dangerous polyphagous insect. It belongs to the Gelechiidae family, Lepidoptera order. The pest is a small butterfly (moth), 5-7 mm long, brown with shades of dark gray. The larva is white-green, with a black head and a brown pupa. It has 12 generations per year. An adult female can have up to 250 eggs during her lifetime. The life cycle is completed in 30-40 days, but largely dependent on environmental conditions. It has 4 larval stages, wintering as an egg, pupa or adult. Moths are more active during the night, during the day being hidden among the leaves. Starting with 2020, in some protected spaces from well-known vegetable basins for growing tomatoes in South Romania, a study was initiated on monitoring the attack of Tuta absoluta. Preliminary results show that the pest is extremely harmful (sometimes the damage to tomato crops can be very high, even compromising the crop), and that chemical control measures, in the absence of agrophytotechnical measures, do not ensure good effectiveness.