Tuta absoluta: Investigating resistance to key insecticides and seeking alternative IPM compatible products


Benefits to Industry:

In 2012, Tuta absoluta was considered to be the most important pest of tomato crops in the UK. At one nursery during June-July 2012, 30% of fruit were damaged by the pest and rendered unmarketable. That represented a loss of approximately £50k per hectare to that grower for that period alone (Jacobson & Howlett, 2013).

British tomato growers admit that they became complacent about Tuta absoluta over the following 3 years due to the success of the new IPM programme. However, recent control failures have made it clear that the industry must remain one step ahead of this potentially devastating pest. As a consequence, Dr Jacobson has been asked to liaise with the Insecticide Resistance Team at Rothamsted Research (IRT RR) and undertake a series of studies to strengthen the industry’s long-term management of Tuta absoluta (TGA TC Minutes, 3 June 2015).

As participants in the project, the TGA TC will receive direct and continuous updates on progress and discoveries. In addition, the results will be circulated to TGA members via the Associations’ own Newsletter. Results and conclusions may also be publicised via the AHDB Horticulture Newsletter and TGA Conference (as appropriate).

Project code:
PE 028
01 July 2015 - 31 December 2015
AHDB Horticulture
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:


PE 028_GS_Final_2015 PE 028_Report_Final_2015

About this project

Aims and Objective: To strengthen the UK tomato industry’s position regarding the long-term management of Tuta absoluta Project objective(s):

  1.  Laboratory-based resistance tests will be done to determine levels of spinosad resistance in UK populations of Tuta absoluta compared to previously established cultures of susceptible strains of the pest.
  2. Laboratory-based resistance tests will be done on the same samples to provide a baseline for chlorantraniliprole for future reference.
  3. Identify additional products which could be usefully incorporated into the UK tomato IPM programme.
  4. Transfer knowledge to the UK tomato industry.