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Potato moth - a pest that can be compared to the Colorado potato beetle in terms of the scale of damage. An inconspicuous little butterfly can destroy up to 80% of the crop.
What does a potato moth look like and how to deal with it? The potato moth, whose scientific name is Fluorimea - a small size butterfly, which has a gray-brown with a dark inner edge and numerous dark spots, which, when folded, form two dark stripes.
The wingspan reaches 12-13 mm. Fluorimea has a long antennae and an abnormally reduced oral apparatus. The resting length of the butterfly is 6-8 mm, which, along with the coloration, makes it almost invisible.
The homeland of the potato moth is Central and South America... It was from there that fluorimea spread to more than 70 countries around the world.
First discovered on the territory of Crimea back in the 80s of the last century, and today the butterfly is widespread in the south of Russia. Initially, the potato moth was imported to Russia with tomatoes and tobacco, the insect's favorite foods.
Potato moth - photo:
In summer, with stable warm weather conditions, development of moths from egg to adult lasts 3-4 weeks. But, the duration of development is influenced by temperature factor, namely:
- + 35 ° C - development lasts 16 days;
- + 20 ... + 27 ° C - 28-30 days;
- + 15 ... + 20 ° C - 60-70 days;
- fluctuations from +8 to + 20 ° C - 120-150 days;
- + 10 ° C - development is delayed for up to 200 days.
As you can see, the potato moth is able to develop, practically regardless of the surrounding conditions.
Pest eggs and larvae
Appearance: round-oval potato moth eggs, reaching 0.8 mm in length and 0.4 mm in width. The color of the egg is pearly white, darkening as the embryo develops inside it.
Where they postpone how to detect? The butterfly lays eggs on the underside of a plant leaf, often near the veins, leaf petioles, or on the stems. Sometimes clutch can be found on exposed tubers and in the ground. Usually masonry consists of 1-20 barely visible eggs.
Caterpillars pest have clear segmentation and 3 pairs of dark thoracic legs. After birth, the larva is naked, pale in color, with a dark head and shield. The length of the newborn larva is 2 mm.
After a while, the caterpillar becomes covered with small dark bristles and has pale gray or green tint... On the body, you can see a pale longitudinal stripe, a dark brown head and a black shield. The body length of an adult larva is 8-12 mm.
Interesting: The color of the larva directly depends on what it feeds on. The pale gray color is inherent in caterpillars feeding on tubers, and green is the color of the larva, which feeds on the vegetative part of the plant.
The life cycle of a potato moth has four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), cocoon, butterfly... The embryonic development of the potato moth lasts from 5-7 days (in summer) to 18-35 days (in winter).
After the larva emerges from the egg, 4 instars (molts) pass before it turns into a pupa.
The duration of this stage depends on temperature regime and living conditions.
Usually the larva becomes adult within 10-20 days (summer) and 45-65 days (winter).
In the pupal stage, the potato moth stays from 5-6 days (in summer) to 30-90 days (in winter). After the butterfly emerges from the cocoon, it will live just a few days.
Under favorable conditions, life expectancy can be 2 weeks... But during this time he will have time to mate and postpone 150-200 eggs.
Optimal temperature conditions for insect development:
- + 8 ... + 25 ° С - for laying eggs;
- + 9 ... + 28 ° С - for the development of the embryo;
- + 6 ... + 25 ° С - for the growth of the larva;
- -4 ... + 40 ° С is the survival threshold of an adult.
One day after mating, the female begins laying eggs, which lasts from 2 to 16 days. Potato moth reproduces equally rapidly both in places where potatoes are stored, and in agricultural lands and wild nature.
Over the summer, 4-5 generations of butterflies can develop, and in places lack of natural enemies (warehouses, storages) the breeding process is not interrupted at all.
What does it eat?
The larval stage of the potato moth feeds on the bottom of the sheet... Actively eating and moving from plant to plant, the caterpillar soon discovers that the tops are drying out. At this moment she moves for tubers, where through the eyes and cracks on the surface of the potato, it penetrates and feeds pulp.
How and where does it winters?
The potato moth hibernates in the ground as a pupa and a caterpillar of the last instar. The spring appearance of moths depends on the weather and temperature conditions. Usually the first flight of a butterfly is observed in the beginning of May.
What harm does it do?
Major harmapplied by moth to potatoes:
- weakening potato bushes due to "mining" or complete destruction of leaves;
- tuber damage, accordingly, a significant decrease in the quality and quantity of the crop;
- decrease in quality and quantity seed potatoes.
- braiding of stems and leaves cobweb;
- "Mining" tops;
- dying off of stems;
- wormholes under the skin and in the pulp of the tuber;
- characteristic moves in tubers filled with excrement;
- education rot in damaged tissues.
Control measures and prevention
How to get rid of potato moths?
If infected potatoes are left on the plantation or simply thrown away, then the larva will go into the ground for wintering, and will reappear next season.
Fight against potato moths living in fields and plantations, carried out by the following methods:
- Landing only intact insects seed to a depth of at least 15 cm.
- Produce regular hilling bushes so that young tubers are under the soil of at least 5 cm.
- Produce systematic weed control.
- Water the plantation by sprinkling (this will kill most adult butterflies).
- Dig up potatoes at the very beginning of the drying of the tops or a week before harvest cut off the tops and burn.
- Harvesting is done as soon as possible, and the harvested potatoes (absolutely all!) remove from the field.
- Larva-damaged tubers and trimmings destroy.
Initial cultivation of potatoes in the field is also recommended. early maturing varieties, which are absolutely indifferent to this insect.
In addition to agrotechnical control methods, you can use remedies for potato moth, such as Danadim, Bi 58, Ditox, Di 68, Rogos-S.
Information about drugs that help fight this pest and how to use them can be found in the article "The best drugs for potato moth (part 1)" and "The best drugs for potato moth (part 2)".
Control measures during storage of potatoes
What are the storage control measures? The main reserve of fluorimea is the potato storage site, where the pest enters together with the harvested crop... There, the moth continues to develop.
A huge part of moth-damaged tubers rots. Crop losses can reach 80%. That is why the fight against fluorimea is so important when storing potatoes. How to deal with potato moths in the basement?
In order to preserve the tubers it is necessary create unfavorable conditions for the larva, namely, to reduce the temperature in the room to + 2-3 ° C.
Quarantine measures are reduced to:
- Compliance with the rules for moving potatoes outside the phytosanitary zone.
- Availability certificatesthat can confirm the absence of the pest.
- Compliance phytosanitary measuresthat are aimed at eliminating the outbreak:
- using healthy seed;
- observance distance (not less than 1000 m) from new storage facilities and crops to old ones;
- qualitative care behind the plantation;
- destruction of self-seeding in the fields infected with the pest;
- destruction of haulm;
- timely movement the harvested crop from the field to storage sites;
- separate storage tubers from different fields;
- land cultivation, in which the potato moth was identified, with special insecticides for this scourge (with a frequency of 10 days).
So, potato moth - very insidious pest.
No matter how terrible the "overseas" guest is, you can and should fight with him.
Carrying out all measures for control and prevention, the harvest can be saved and ensure healthy development of future crops.