News October 2019

US potato growers advised to watch for tuber moths

Its harvest time for many potato growers. Those not quite at that point will be harvesting before long.  And while many growers are thinking about getting those spuds in a storage shed, or off to the processor, Washington State University’s Tim Waters said growers need to continue to watch for pests. 

According to Waters, pre-harvest insect pressures have been fairly low, but that does not mean growers are in the clear.  Waters said growers need to be very cognizant of Potato Tuber moth.

“The Potato Tuber Moth is not a problem when the vines are green, because the larvae will mine in between the leaves and on the stems and that does not cause economic damage. But the problem occurs when the foliage is killed the moth larvae will go down and feed on the tubers, which causes big problems when you go to put those into storage or run them through a processing plant.”

What do growers need to do?

Water says it’s important to monitor each individual fields for Tuber Moth, using pheromone traps, placed up-wind.

“If you get a few per night, that’s usually not of concern.  But when you start to get 10-15-20 per night, that’s really a concern, and growers need to think about making an insecticide application to protect the crop.”

Report by Glenn Vaagen of the Washington Ag Network here