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Natural tomato pest control found

Researchers have found a natural predator of the tomato pest, tomato leaf miner ( Tuta absoluta). Scientists at the Dutch University of Wageningen sent tomato plants carrying leaf miner eggs to the nature reserve in Kinderdijk. Before the caterpillars could pupate, plants were taken to a laboratory and placed in a cage to collect any possible parasites. Immediate activity of Eulophidae spp parasitic wasps was detected. One of the wasps produced offspring that are undergoing identification tests. If they prove suitable, the researchers intend to produce related but harmless wasps and develop a method of introducing them into the crop. Leaf miners originate in South America and have become a major pest in southern Europe, leading to several exceptional use authorisations for pesticides in countries such as Spain ( Agrow passim).

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