University of Florida

Action Thresholds

Over the years, we have developed usable action thresholds that have been successful for many tomato farmers (Table 1, below). However, these thresholds are only guidelines. Farm managers may modify them to fit their particular situations and expectations. It is important to note that after tomatoesfruit-set one caterpillar egg is substituted for one larva, since several of the caterpillar pests,especially the tomato fruitworm (Helicoverpa zea), preferentially feed on the fruit.


Table 1. Action thresholds utilized for management of insect pests on Florida fresh market tomatoes.

Pest Crop stage Threshold
Armyworms, fruitworm Pre-bloom 1 larva/6plants
Post-bloom 1 egg or larva/field
Tomato pinworm 0-7 true leaves 0.7 larva/plant
>7 true leaves 0.7 larva/leaf
Season long 5 adults/trap/night*
Leafminers 0-2 true leaves 0.7 larva/plant
>2 true leaves 0.7 larva/3 terminal leaflets
Silverleaf whitefly Season long 5 pupae and/or nymphs/10 leaflets**
0-3 true leaves 10 adults/plant**
3-7 true leaves 1 adult/leaflet
Thrips Post-bloom >5/flower
Stinkbugs Post-bloom 1/6 plants
Aphids Season long >3-4/plant
Loopers Season long 1 larva/6 plants

* When threshold is reached, apply pheromone for mating disruption.

** Tentative threshold; will require more validation. If the source of
whiteflies is believed to be tomato, especially if infected with tomato
mottle geminivirus (TMoV), the threshold will be lower.