How to identify and prevent pests on tomato crops?

How to identify and prevent pests on tomato crop?
How to identify and prevent pests on tomato crop?

This blog provides in-depth guidance regarding pest identification and preventative methods for your tomato crop. 

In most nations, the tomato is the second most significant cash crop after the potato. In India, it is grown throughout the summer. It can also be grown as an efficient off-season crop for greater profits. Throughout all growth phases, tomato plants are attacked by various pests, resulting in significant output losses and, occasionally, complete crop failure.

However, there is good news. If you keep a close eye on certain aspects, you can see pests as soon as they start infesting your tomato field and eliminate them before things become out of control. This blog will cover every method for protecting your tomato crop from pests.

Major pests on tomato

PestsIdentification Management 
ThripsSilvery stripes on the leaf.

Premature flower drop.

Flower buds die.
Destroy unhealthy plants.

Use yellow sticky traps.
AphidsYellow stains on leaves.

Small silver dots on the upper surface of the leaves.

Leaf starts to curl.
Use beneficial insects like ladybug beetle.

Get rid of old plant waste.

Use reflective mulch.
Leaf minerLeaf wilting and drooping.

Serpentine mines in the leaves.

Large holes on the stem.
Use pest-free transplants.

Use pheromone traps.

Remove and destroy any damaged plants or plant parts.

Control different host plants near the field.

Thrips

Tomato thrips are the major insect pest of the tomato crop that causes enormous economic losses. They thrive in hot, dry environments and are typically more harmful in regions where these conditions dominate most of the growing season. The damage caused by the insect thrips eating on tomato leaves and fruit could be mistaken for a disease. It is especially critical to recognise the damage because thrips vector Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) and other tospoviruses can cause significant losses.

Symptoms

  • Sometimes, it is tricky to identify the thrips on tomatoes. Here are some identification measures to identify thrips:
  • Silvery stripes on the surface of the leaf.
  • Premature flower drop.
  • Flower buds die.
  • With their feeding, thrips in large numbers can harm plants, deform flowers, and create white to silvery areas on developing leaves that frequently contain small black waste particles.
Thrips in tomato
Thrips in tomato

Management

The preventative measures to control thrips infection in tomatoes are listed below:

  • Manually remove and destroy unhealthy plants.
  • Use 15 yellow sticky traps per hectare to attract thrips and control them.
  • Avoid growing tomatoes near cereals, onions, or garlic since these crops frequently develop significant thrips populations.

Aphids

When cultivating tomatoes, aphids can be found quite frequently. These tiny pests are found worldwide, draining sap from the leaves of your tomato plants and proliferating.

Their piercing bites have the potential to spread viral diseases and severely infest tomatoes.

Aphids in tomato
Aphids in tomato

Symptoms

Here are some identification measures that will help you recognize the aphid infestation on tomatoes:

  • Yellow stains on leaves.
  • Small silver dots on the upper surface of the leaves.
  • On the underside of leaves, insects can be spotted.
  • With their sucking mouthparts, aphids suck fluid from the plant. As a result of this, plants become stunted and their leaves start to curl under heavy infestations.
  • Reduced leaf area increases the risk of fruit sunburn.

Management

The best ways to prevent aphid infestation on tomatoes are listed below:

  • Use beneficial insects like ladybug beetle to reduce pest infestation.
  • Get rid of old plant waste as this waste acts as a source for aphids.
  • Use reflective mulch to keep aphids at bay. As their ultraviolet-reflected light confuses the pest’s ability to locate its host.
  • Monitor fields to evaluate the prevalence and severity of diseases and pests.
  • Prune diseased plant parts.
  • Examine the weeds in and around the fields because some weeds invite aphids to the farm.
  • Avoid overwatering and fertilising.
  • Use yellow sticky bands to reduce ant populations that defend aphids.

Leaf miner

The tomato leaf miner is one of the most invasive and devastating pests that attack tomato crops worldwide. If left unchecked, this pest might lead to a production loss of up to 100% and impose major biotic constraints on tomato production.

Symptoms

  • Leaf miners cause both direct and indirect damage to plants. The most immediate damage caused by leaf miners is:
  • Leaf wilting and drooping.
  • Narrow snake-like mines in the leaves.
  • The mines on the irregularly shaped leaflets change colour from white to grey before turning necrotic.
  • Large holes and galleries are seen in the stems.
  • Restricted growth of the plant.
Leaf miner in tomato
Leaf miner in tomato

Management

The following are the ways to prevent leaf miner infestation on tomatoes:

  • Use pest-free transplants.
  • Use pheromone traps to watch your field and catch the adults in huge numbers.
  • Remove and destroy any damaged plants or plant parts.
  • Control different host plants near the field (such as potato, pepper, and watermelon).
  • After harvest, infected plants need to be removed and destroyed.
  • To prevent carrying over from the previous harvest, wait six weeks before planting the following crop.
  • Use a wide-ranging crop rotation.
  • Since crop residues could serve as sources of inoculums, deep ploughing and weed control are advised.
  • Parasitoids like Chrysonotomyia effectively control this pest in the fields.
  • Use 100 yellow sticky traps per acre as adult flies will be attracted to them and killed.
  • Use natural sprays such as neem oil emulsion and seed kernel extract.

Conclusion

Using integrated pest management tactics is a realistic strategy to protect tomato plants. By using the appropriate preventative measures, farmers can prevent pests from infiltrating their farms. Many modern techniques are now being developed to protect crops from insect infestation. In this modern era, technology can also assist farmers in defending their fields against recurring insect infestations.

How can Fasal assist?

  • Fasal is a full-stack platform for contemporary horticulture farming. It is an AI-based farming solution that helps farmers boost their profitability.
  • Fasal technology aims to create a pest warning model for the horticulture sector using a cutting-edge framework that makes use of sensors to gauge the field’s current climatic conditions.
  • Measured data is uploaded via the cloud to a central server and a warning message is sent to the farmer when the circumstances are favourable for the appearance of pests like leaf miners, aphids and thrips on the farmer’s field.
  • By alerting users to pests and diseases and advising preventative measures only when necessary, the Fasal System considerably reduces the cost of pesticides.
  • Fasal System continuously analyses agricultural microclimates and notifies farmers when infestations of tomato pests like leaf miners, thrips, and aphids are most likely to happen.
  • With the Fasal System, you may control each stage of your crop’s growth more successfully. This boosts output while also producing crops of excellent quality.

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