How about I start this week’s blog with a question……what is the common link between the newly-constructed toilet block in Kithimu market place and Maize streak virus (MSV)?
The pesky tomato pest, Tuta absoluta, has decided in recent years that it wants to see a little more of the world. This moth is native to Peru and is probably widespread in all countries in South America, but in the last 5 years the pest has also been found in the Mediterranean, spreading at a rapid pace. T. absoluta seems to have found the Mediterranean a perfect new home where it can breed 10-12 generations per year and each female can lay 250-300 eggs in its lifetime. The pest is crossing boarders and devastating tomato production in both protected and open fields. Just in 2010 the Reporting Service from the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) reported first records in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Israel, Hungary, Kosovo, Guernsey and Turkey and in 2011 in Greece, Lithuania and Iraq. The Tuta absoluta information network also reports the pest in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan and most recently in glasshouses in Russia, although these reports have not been confirmed officially by NPPOs.