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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Title: Control Microbiano de la Palomilla de la Papa, Phthorimaea operculella

item Lacey, Lawrence
item Kroschel, Jurgen
item Arthurs, Steven
item De La Rosa, Francisco

Submitted to: Revista Colombiana de Entomologia
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/14/2010
Publication Date: 12/17/2010
Citation: Lacey, L.A., Kroschel, J., Arthurs, S.P., De La Rosa, F. 2010. Control Microbiano de la Palomilla de la Papa, Phthorimaea operculella. Revista Colombiana de Entomologia. 36(2):181-189.

Interpretive Summary: Potato tuberworm (PTW) is widely recognized as a potato pest of global importance. Larvae feed within potato leaves and stems, but most of the damage is due feeding in potato tubers. Because there is zero tolerance for insect parts in processed tubers, infestations of PTW, even relatively small ones, can result in substantial economic losses. For example, damage caused by PTW in the Pacific Northwest was especially high in 2004-2006, often requiring frequent application of broad spectrum insecticides. Reliance on chemical insecticides for insect control has resulted in a variety of safety and environmental problems. Researchers at the USDA-ARS Laboratory in Wapato, WA, The International Potato Center, in Lima Peru, and the University of Florida in Apopka, FL are cooperatively researching the literature on the control of PTW using insect-specific pathogens. The document they have compiled presents in-depth information that shows the utility of biopesticides for control of PTW in potato growing regions around the world with special reference to the Pacific Northwest of the United States. This information will provide researchers and potato producers with a comprehensive resource for planning integrated management strategies that employ insect-specific pathogens for control of PTW. Such strategies will result in better safety for applicators and the food supply and will minimize environmental contamination.

Technical Abstract: Naturally occurring insect specific pathogens and inundatively applied biopesticides can significantly contribute to control of the potato tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella). The most researched and practically used for control of P. operculella are a granulovirus and the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt). The P. operculella granulovirus (PoGV) has the potential to play a significant role in the integrated management of P. operculella in stored tubers and in field crops. Similarly, Bt has been successfully used against P. operculella infestations in both field crops and stored tubers. PoGV and Bt are safe to application personnel and the food supply and do not affect beneficial insects and other nontarget organisms. Other natural insecticides include a biofumigant fungus (Muscodor albus), botanicals, sex pheromones and physical measures for P. operculella control in stored tubers. The implementation of biopesticides will ultimately depend on an increased awareness of their attributes by growers and the public, which will be the main drivers for their use and commercialization.

Last Modified: 07/26/2017
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