EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 08 - 2009 Num. article: 2009/152

First report of Tuta absoluta from the United Kingdom

The NPPO of the United Kingdom recently informed the EPPO Secretariat of the first record of Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae – EPPO A1 List) in Essex, South East of England. In March 2009, T. absoluta was intercepted for the first time in the UK on imported Spanish tomato fruit at a packing station. A monitoring survey was then carried out in all packing stations located in the vicinity of tomato growers. As of July 2009, 14 packing sites confirmed infestations of T. absoluta (the pest being introduced on imported tomato fruits, primarily Spain but also Italy). Despite phytosanitary measures which were put in place at infested packing sites to prevent any further spread, T. absoluta was found at one tomato production site (glasshouse) in July 2009. It is suspected that the pest was introduced via a packing station which had been returning Spanish packing material to the grower, such as boxes which had previously contained infested tomato fruits. Eradication is being undertaken using mass trapping (pheromone traps), insecticide treatments, removal and destruction of infested tomato plants and fruits, hygienic waste disposal practices and removal of wild host plants in the immediate vicinity of the infested glasshouse. A crop break is expected on the infested production site around November. Other growing sites receiving packing material from the same packing site are being visited.
The pest status of Tuta absoluta in the United Kingdom is officially declared as: Present, under statutory eradication measures.


NPPO of the United Kingdom, 2009-07.
INTERNET (last retrieved in 2009-07)
Fera confirms the first outbreak in the UK of Tuta absoluta – the South American tomato moth (2009-07-10). http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk/plants/plantHealth/pestsDiseases/tomatoMoth.cfm