The tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), is one of the key pests of tomato in Argentina. Since its dispersal in the 1970s, chemical control has been the main method of controlling it. However, reduced efficacy of some of the recommended insecticides has been observed since the 1980s. The aim of this work was to study the toxicity of three insecticides widely used in chemical control of T. absoluta (abamectin, deltamethrin and methamidophos) on larvae from a laboratory susceptible population (CASTELAR) and two greenhouse populations (ROSARIO and BELLA VISTA). Insecticides were dissolved in acetone and topically applied to the mid-dorsal abdominal region of two-day old 4th instar larvae. LD50 values were estimated and the Resistance Ratio (RR) for each insecticide was calculated (RR = LD50 value of each greenhouse population/LD50 value of the susceptible population). ROSARIO and BELLA VISTA populations showed the following RRs values: > 68.38 for deltamethrin; 2.48 and 3.49 for abamectin, respectively; and 0.79 and 0.86 for metamidophos, respectively. Deltamethrin resistance observed in ROSARIO could be due to the high selective pressure exerted by pyrethroids in this location. Deltamethrin resistance in BELLA VISTA is more difficult to explain, because pyrethroids were scarcely used in the greenhouse where the insects were sampled. The incipient abamectin resistance detected in the BELLA VISTA population could result from the frequent use of this insecticide in this location, although natural variation can not be discarded.
Tomato leafminer; deltamethrin; abamectin; metamidophos; insecticide resistance