Potato Moth (Phthorimaea Operculella)

Pest Type: Potato Pest

Row: Lepidoptera-Lepidoptera

Family: Moth-Gelechiidae

Quarantine pests in the southern steppes of Russia. It damages potatoes, especially tubers in storage, tobacco, eggplant, tomatoes, Datura, nightshade and other cultivated and weedy nightshade. Butterfly 12-16 mm in size, fore wings broadly lanceolate, brownish-gray, with a dark inner edge, yellow scales and dark brown strokes; hind wings with a notch along the outer edge, the fringe is longer than the width of the wing; in males on the front edge there is a long hairbrush, reaching the middle of the wing.

The egg is 0.8 mm in size, oval, pearly white. Caterpillar 8-10 mm long, yellow-orange or gray-green with a longitudinal stripe in the middle of the back and small dark shields on the body; thoracic flap black, anal yellow. The pupa is 5-6.5 mm, brown, with a small cremaster and setae at the end of the abdomen, located in a silky silver-gray cocoon.

Caterpillars of older ages and pupae in cocoons overwinter in natural conditions. In potato storages at 15 ° C and above, pest development continues on potato tubers in the winter. In the spring, in case of planting tubers with eggs laid on them or populated by caterpillars or pupae, the pest again enters the field.

Butterflies fly to the south of Russia in May. Butterflies fly at night, from sunset to sunrise, and 1-2 hours after sunrise. A day after mating, the females lay their eggs, placing them below on the leaves, on the stems, soil, naked potato tubers one by one or in small heaps. For 2-16 days, one female is able to lay up to 300 eggs.

Depending on the temperature conditions, after 3-15 days caterpillars are born from the eggs, bite under the epidermis of the leaf, young shoot or the skin of a young tuber, where they feed, gnawing through them winding mines and passages filled with excrement. On average, after 11-14 days of feeding, caterpillars leave mines, weave cocoons between dried leaves, in soil cracks, plant debris, between tubers in storage and other secluded places where they pupate. After 7-12 days, butterflies fly out of the pupae, lay eggs and give rise to the development of a new generation.

In the south of Russia, potato moth naturally develops in five generations, which overlap each other, so adults are observed almost continuously, from May to November, with the highest numbers in September-October.

Protective measures. Prevention of the introduction and spread of the pest in new areas, compliance with quarantine rules. Fumigation of potato tubers before planting. Destruction of nightshade weeds, hilling of bushes that do not allow the exposure of tubers, harvesting before drying the tops and immediate removal from the field, destruction of plant debris and deep plowing of the soil; if possible, rejection of summer planting of potatoes. In case of detection of summer butterflies and damage to plants, spraying with insecticides.

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