6. Seasonal flight dynamics of the potato tuber moth Phthorimaea operculella (lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) on flue cured tobacco

Author: Tania Vaneva-Gancheva, Yanko Dimitrov, Daniela Atanasova


Phthorimaea operculella Zeller is one of the most destructive pests of potato and is becoming an important pest of other Solanaceous crops including tobacco. Hereby we report on a study of the seasonal flight dynamics of the pest on flue-cured tobacco crop in the region of Plovdiv in Bulgaria during 2008-2010. Male P. operculella were monitored using pheromone traps. Adults were present in the field from March through to the end of December even when tobacco was not present in the field. Flight activity started when the average weekly temperature rose above 6.3o C. An expanded flight period of the overwintering generation with low catch was observed from March to the beginning of June. The pest population started to build up from July. During the tobacco growing seasons of 2008 and 2009 the pest flight dynamics showed a similar pattern. The periods of the highest catches were from the end of July to the end of August, the end of September to the middle of October, and the middle of November. The rainfall during June-July 2010 reduced the density and changed the flight pattern. The Phthorimaea operculella population increased gradually over several months and two flight peaks were registered in the end of August and in October. The end of the flight activity in the temperate area was associated with the snowfall.

Keywords: seasonal flight dynamics, pheromone trap, Phthorimaea operculella; potato tuber moth, tobacco