Semi-field evaluation of a granulovirus and Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. kurstaki for season-long control of the potato tuber moth, Phthorimaea operculella

Steven P. Arthurs, Lawrence A. Lacey, Jonathan N. Pruneda, Silvia I. Rondon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


There are few insecticidal options for potato tuber moth (PTM), Phthorimaea operculella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), control late in the growing season. We evaluated the PTM granulovirus (PoGV) and Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner ssp. kurstaki (Btk) for season-long control of PTM on potato foliage in 2006 and 2007. Compared to untreated controls, 10 weekly applications of PoGV (1013 occlusion bodies/ha) reduced PTM populations in replicated 1-m3 field cages by 86-96% on pre-harvest foliage and 90-97% on tubers added to cages shortly before harvest. Infection rates of 82-95% of L4 larvae by PoGV were noted within individual larval cohorts. Equivalently timed Btk treatments (1.12 kg product/ha) were significantly less effective at population suppression, with a 36-76% reduction in larvae recovered from tubers added to cages. A PoGV/Btk alternation was significantly more effective than Btk alone and as effective as PoGV in 2007, but not in 2006. There was some evidence that reduced rate PoGV treatments (10% rate or 50% application frequency) were less effective than the standard program. There were no treatment effects on percentage of tubers growing in the ground that were infested at harvest, which remained comparatively low at ≤8.1%. Bioassays were conducted to evaluate the residual activities of foliar deposits. Early-season applications were highly effective for the first 24 h (≥93% mortality) with a steady decline in activity over 10 days. A second application, applied later in the season, showed similar patterns, although in this case Btk was less persistent than PoGV, whereas both agents provided significant larval mortality compared with controls over 14 days. Both PoGV and Btk provide alternatives to manage field infestations of PTM prior to harvest, thus reducing the risk of tuber infestations in storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-285
Number of pages10
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Baculovirus
  • Biopesticide
  • Gelechiidae
  • Integrated pest management
  • Lepidoptera
  • Microbial control
  • Solanaceae
  • Solanum tuberosum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Semi-field evaluation of a granulovirus and Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. kurstaki for season-long control of the potato tuber moth, Phthorimaea operculella'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this