The parasitoid Copidosoma koehleri provides limited control of the potato tuber moth, Phthorimaea operculella, in stored potatoes

Tamar Keasar, Adi Sadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The potato tuber moth Phthorimaea operculella (Zeller) is a major pest of potatoes in the field, and of tubers stored under ambient temperatures post-harvest. The encyrtid parasitoid Copidosoma koehleri (Blanchard) effectively controls the pest in the field in some countries. We tested whether C. koehleri can also reduce tuber moth populations in storage. Tubers stored indoors and outdoors in Israel, under controlled initial tuber moth infestation levels, received 1-2 releases of adult parasitoids during an eight-week storage period. Tubers were repeatedly sampled for infestation, and reared out until adult insect emergence. In the indoor storage experiment, parasitoid populations increased and tuber moth populations were significantly reduced. Nevertheless, tuber infestation reached 100% in C. koehleri-treated tubers and in untreated controls. In potatoes stored in heaps outdoors, parasitized hosts were rarely recovered, and infestation levels of parasitoid-treated heaps did not differ from untreated controls. We discuss possible reasons for C. koehleri's limited efficiency as a biological control agent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Control
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was supported by the Israeli Ministry for Industry and Trade. Data analysis and writing were supported by the Institute for Advanced Studies, the Hebrew University. We gratefully acknowledge Shimon Steinberg and Michal Segoli for helpful discussions. Ori Becher and Karen Dray provided expert technical assistance.


  • Biological control
  • Copidosoma koehleri
  • Phthorimaea operculella
  • Potato
  • Traditional storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science

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