Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Potato tuber moth (298)

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  • Worldwide distribution. On potato, tomato and tobacco, the main hosts. An important pest.
  • Eggs laid on leaves, and the leaves and stems mined. As soil cracks, larvae attack tubers near soil surface. Damage causes rots. Spread is in seed tubers.
  • Natural enemies: wasp parasitoids and parasites.
  • Cultural control: certified seed; remove volunteers; weeds; tolerant varieties; deep planting; test onion intercrops; hill-up; avoid overlapping crops; crop rotation; mulch before harvest; avoid cull piles.
  • Chemical control: sprays of abamectin, spinosad, or synthetic pyrethroids. Neem in storage.
Common Name

Potato tuber moth

Scientific Name

Phthorimaea operculella. It is a member of the Gelechiidae.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson 
Information from CABI (2015) Phthorimaea operculella (potato tuber moth). Crop Protection Compendium. (; and from Harsimran K, et al. (2014) Featured Creatures: Potato tuberworm. UF/IFAS, University of Florida. ( Photos 1-3 Western Australian Agriculture Authority (Department of Agriculture and Food. WA). Photos 4&5 MAF Plant Health & Enviroment Laboratory (2011) Potato Tuber Moth (Phthorimaea operculella. (PaDIL - (

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. 

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