Tuta absoluta (tomato leafminer) is a highly destructive insect pest to tomato plants and fruit and is also reported to infest other plants in the Solanacaeae family (potato, eggplant, etc.). The tomato leafminer lives on and in the leaves, stems and flowers of plants in the Solanacaeae family and also in the tomato itself. It has also been found on bean plants. In South Africa, male moths were first detected in pheromone traps in Mpumalanga Province during August 2016, and they were positively identified as T. absoluta by a taxonomist at the ARC-PPRI, Biosystematics Division.

In May 2017, the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) issued a press statement that T. absoluta negatively affected tomato production in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and North West provinces.

Click here for a fact sheet on the Tomato Leafminer. – ARC