Journal of
Entomology and Nematology

  • Abbreviation: J. Entomol. Nematol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9855
  • DOI: 10.5897/JEN
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 124

Full Length Research Paper

Tomato Leaf miner (Tuta absoluta) (Meyrick 1917) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) prevalence and farmer management practices in Kirinyanga County, Kenya

Nderitu Wangari Peris
  • Nderitu Wangari Peris
  • School of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Resource Management, University of Embu, P. O. Box 6-60100, Embu, Kenya.
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John Jamleck Muturi
  • John Jamleck Muturi
  • School of pure and applied sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Embu, P. O. Box 6-60100, Embu, Kenya.
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Otieno Mark
  • Otieno Mark
  • School of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Resource Management, University of Embu, P. O. Box 6-60100, Embu, Kenya.
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Arunga Esther
  • Arunga Esther
  • School of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Resource Management, University of Embu, P. O. Box 6-60100, Embu, Kenya.
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Mattias Jonsson
  • Mattias Jonsson
  • Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden.
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  •  Received: 25 April 2018
  •  Accepted: 21 June 2018
  •  Published: 31 August 2018

Abstract

Pest invasion is one of the limiting factors affecting food production. Tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta) (Meyrick 1917) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), is an invasive insect pest of tomato. However, In Kenya, there is limited information on the level of invasion of the pest in tomato producing areas in the country. We assessed the level of invasion of T. absoluta and farmer management practices in Kirinyaga County. Tomato farmers were interviewed using questionnaires aimed at identifying the management practices used by farmers to control T. absoluta and their awareness on the insect pest. Two hundred and eight tomato farmers were interviewed, 90% of the respondents rated T. absoluta as a major pest of tomato. Results show that 94% of the respondents use synthetic chemicals in the control of T. absoluta with an average frequency of 12 times per growing season of three months with the highest frequency being 16 times. Increased use of synthetic insecticides was associated with a negative impact on the natural enemies. Among the interviewed farmers, 52 and 46% of respondents stated that after chemical spraying natural enemies disappear and are killed respectively, while 2% did not know what happened to them. It is therefore imperative to design an integrated pest management program that integrates biological control and environmentally friendly chemicals for sustainable control of T. absoluta populations.

 

Key words: Synthetic insecticides, management practices, natural enemies, abundance, severity.