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Integrated pest management (IPM) of Tomato leaf miner
(Liriomyza spp.)


Activity 1

  1. What is IPM?
    Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the term used for the use of a range of pest control strategies in a co-ordinated manner to prevent pests , diseases or weeds from reaching economically damaging levels in crops. Pests include  insects, mites and vertebrates (such as birds).

    Using a range of tactics to deal with pests  removes and/or minimises the reliance on any single method of control, e.g. chemical sprays. IPM strategies fall into the following categories: biological, cultural (or managerial), chemical, physical (or mechanical) and genetic.

  2. Identify three benefits of using IPM.
    The benefits of using IPM are many and varied, but may include:
    • Reducing health risks associated with chemicals to growers, their families, staff and consumers.
    • Reduces negative impacts of chemicals on the environment, including a reduction in the death of beneficial species.
    • A reduction of the level of chemical residues in food and fibre.
    • Encourages natural enemies to help manage pests.
    • More cost effective use of chemical treatments.
    • Encourages more regular inspection of crops, thus improving likelihood of detecting other potential problems earlier, resulting in swifter remedial action.

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Activity 2

  1. Explain what damage the leaf miner does to the tomato plant and why you think control measures are important.
    The females puncture leaves and lay eggs. These punctures can serve as entry points for disease-causing bacteria and fungi.

    Maggots cause damage by feeding between the upper and lower surface of the leaf, making tunnels or mines as they move along. Heavy attack leads to large-scale death of leaf tissue. Shrivelling of the whole leaf may result in complete defoliation of crops. Defoliation of tomato plants may also expose fruits to sunburn and thus affect their market value.

    Heavy infestation reduces the photosynthetic capacity of the plant and affects the development of flowers and fruits. However, mature plants of most crops, such as tomatoes, can withstand considerable leaf mining, especially on the lower or outer leaves. In other crops, where feeding occurs on the marketable part of the crop, even slight damage may lead to rejection of the crop. This is particularly important for export crops, as most Leaf miner species are considered quarantine pests in the EU and there have been rejections of produce exported to Europe.

  2. Evaluate the likely environmentally sustainable implications of adopting IPM strategies to control leaf miner damage in tomato crops.
    Integrated pest management (IPM) is an approach to controlling pests which emphasises minimising crop loss by all means at the growers disposal including the use of resistant and tolerant varieties, cultural methods, biological controls, insect growth regulators and pheromones, other genetic methods (such as the use of sterile insects and transgenic plants) and the careful application of chemicals. The ultimate goal of IPM is to ensure production of abundant, high quality food using environmentally and economically sound methods. Sound IPM programs should coordinate pest management activities with production methods in order to achieve economical and long-lasting solutions to pest problems. The components that are essential to any IPM program include accurate identification of pests, field monitoring, control action guidelines and effective methods of prevention and control, including the use of appropriate pesticides when needed. An IPM program, when implemented correctly, is an effective means of controlling leaf miner damage in tomato crops.

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