Potato Tuberworm

Potato Tuberworm

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Common names: Potato Tuberworm

Scientific name: Phthorimaea operculella

Region: This borer can be found in the southern portion of the United States from California to Florida.

Life cycle: This insect can produce up to six generations each year.  Pupation occurs as a larva within tubers.

The larva also overwinters in garden rubbish.

Physical description: The worm-like Caterpillar is 1/2 inch long and is a pinkish white with a brown head.  The adult moth is grayish brown with darker brown marks.  This moth has very narrow wings with a span of about 1/2 inch.  The eggs are laid on the underside of leaves or in the eyes of tubers.  Eggs can be found singly or in groups.

Feeding characteristics: This pest attacks eggplant and tomato plants by tunneling into the stems and making burrows with a silk lining inside of tubers.

Controls: Infested vines should be clipped off and destroyed.

Return from Potato Tuberworm to Insects M-P Encyclopedia of Garden Insects

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