Potato moth - measures of struggle in the garden, in the cellar during storage

Potato moth (Phthorimaea operculella Zell) is a dangerous quarantine pest that can cause tangible damage to such nightshade crops as potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, tobacco, peppers. The areas where the mole settled, are huge. Today it lives in more than 70 countries. And here in the Kuban we were first noticed for a long time - 1981. What is dangerous potato mole to us, truck farmers? The one that can destroy all the potato stocks in the cellar. Now, let's talk about what a potato moth is, and how to deal with it.



  • Potato moth - stages of development and way of life
  • Fighting potato moth in the garden
  • How to deal with the potato moth in the cellar

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Potato moth - stages of development and way of life

The countries of Central and South America are the birthplace of potato moths. How does she look? This is a very small, inconspicuous, ordinary butterfly. The wingspan of potato moth is slightly more than a centimeter - only 12-16 mm. The front wings are gray, they have large dots, stripes, and the hind wings are solid with uneven terry margins.

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Potato moth for the entire period of its existence passes several stages of development - butterfly, egg, larva, pupa.

The entire development cycle takes 22-30 days in the summer, and in the winter the same process takes much longer - 2-4 months.


In the garden potato moth is difficult to notice. This is not a Colorado beetle, which at different stages of development can easily be seen on potato bushes at any time of the day. Active potato moth becomes early in the morning, before sunrise, or late in the evening, after sunset.

But go day by day on the edge of the potato field, disturb the bushes. If the site is infected with a potato moth, you will see how butterflies, very similar to an ordinary moth, fly over the plantings and, flying 2-3 m, sit on leaves, stems, ground, merge with the background, become immediately invisible because of their small size.

The life of the pest in the butterfly stage is about 3 weeks. During this time, she manages to lay 50-200 eggs on leaves from below, on stems, potato tubers, fruits of other solanaceous plants.

In the egg for 5-15 days the larva of the potato moth - the caterpillar ripens. This is the most dangerous stage of pest development from the point of view of gardeners, since it is the caterpillars that cause the greatest damage to potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, other vegetables, damaging tubers, fruits, stems, leaves.

The larva (caterpillar) of potato moth usually has a yellow-pink or slightly greenish color, the length of the trunk is from 1 to, cm. The longevity of the caterpillar is 10-48 days, during which time it molts four times.

In the pupa stage, it passes on plants or soil, crevices of walls or floor, if it enters the vault or cellar.

The winter caterpillar or pupa is carried in the soil close to the surface or under abandoned plant remains. And in the spring gray butterflies fly out of the overwintering pupae.

Potato moth of any stage of development can be found in the garden all season, from early spring to late autumn. And after laying, for example, of infected potatoes for storage in the presence of favorable conditions, pest development also continues in winter.

Caterpillars of potato moths are very tenacious. Potato tubers freeze when the temperature drops to -1 ° C, but the pest survives at this temperature.


The best conditions for moths will be a temperature of + 22-26 ° C with an air humidity of not more than 80%. If the air warms above + 36 ° C or cools below -4 ° C, then the insect will die, no matter at what stage of its development it will be.

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Fighting potato moth in the garden

So how do you determine that the potato moth settled in our garden? Only after a thorough inspection of plants. The first thing that catches your eye is the presence of excrement on the stem, leaves, fruits.

Caterpillars penetrate into tomatoes, eggplant, pepper through the peduncle or from the opposite end of the fruit, where there was a flower. And in potato tubers - through the eyes, the place of stolon attachment or small damage, cracks.

In vegetables, potato tubers can be at the same time up to 6 larvae, but even one is enough to spoil the whole fruit.


Most losses from potato moths are mainly suffered by potato breeders. For this reason, it is important to prevent the pest from entering the potato, by conducting regular preventive measures.

  • Firstly, the potatoes must either be planted deeper than usual, or they should be hilled more often and higher - the height of the soil layer above the tubers should be at least 15 cm, as it is noticed that most often the pest is introduced into tubers that are close to the surface of the earth.
  • Secondly, the potatoes should be harvested until the tops are withered. 1-2 weeks before harvest, the green mass is mowed, immediately immediately removed from the field, so that the caterpillars do not penetrate.
  • Thirdly, if you notice the traces of a pest on your field, you should immediately treat the whole area using chemical preparations. From potato moth use the same means that from the Colorado beetle - for example, fastak, decis. Only 20 days after processing, potatoes can be eaten.
  • Fourthly, the excavated tubers should be removed from the field as soon as possible, since only a couple of hours is enough for butterflies to lay eggs and spoil the harvest.

The fight with the potato moth, of course, will add to the hassle of truck farmers. But your efforts will not be wasted - you will save the harvest.

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How to deal with the potato moth in the cellar

Before you put the harvest for storage, if you notice the presence of potato moths in your area, you need to process the tubers. Than to process a potato from a potato moth? There are different ready-made preparations, as well as those that are easy to prepare by combining several ingredients.


The potato moth remedy is a mixture of two biological preparations: lepididic and planar. The first drug is just needed to fight this pest, and the second - for the prevention of fungal diseases.

The solution is prepared quite simply. The amount of the finished solution depends on the size of your crop.

In 100 liters of water, you need to add 2 liters of lepidocidum +, l planarise. In the resulting mixture immediately (it is not recommended to store it), the potatoes drop for 5-10 minutes. Then the tubers are dried.

After such processing the harvest can be safely taken away for storage. For food, it will be suitable in 2-3 days. By the way, such biological treatment will be an excellent prevention before planting potatoes.

There is another option for potato processing, where a mole appeared - a 1% solution of bacterial preparations (lepidocid, dendrobacillin or bitoxybacillin). About 150 liters of water will need about 1 liter of this solution. The treatment is the same - potatoes should be lowered into the mixture for 15-20 minutes.

Biological preparations have a short shelf life - 1-2 years.

To withstand the whole harvest of potatoes in a bioremedium is a laborious operation, rather it will be for those who grow potatoes in small volumes for themselves. Therefore, it is desirable to pay more attention to preventive measures

In addition, you should inspect the cellar itself or another storage location. If there are traces of potato moths, then the room and containers must be disinfected by whitewashing with quicklime or fumigants (the means by which fumigated rooms). Experts recommend using a smoke bomb for the cellar from potato moth "Gamma" or "FAS".

Significantly reduce crop losses spraying of contaminated potatoes in the cellar with a solution of the microbial "Enterobacterin". It is effective against flying insects, that is, against the butterfly of potato moth, which after processing the room will lose its activity, can not lay eggs in the tubers.

By the way, keep in mind, at a temperature of 3-5 ° C this pest does not develop, dies, so it is better to store the crop in a cellar in such conditions.

At the moment in Russia, the potato harvest is mostly spoiled by potato moths. Measures to combat this insect are not so simple as it may seem.

  • You should plant healthy seeds to the desired depth.
  • Do not start planting potatoes - often higher it to hill.
  • In time, destroy the tops before harvesting, if a mole was found on the field.
  • It is more common to peel potatoes in a cellar to remove infected tubers.
  • Process storage facilities, cellar, infected tubers every 10-12 days with recommended medications.

These actions will protect the harvest from potato moths.

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