PGI Reports Tuber Worm Found In Idaho

Published online: Oct 12, 2005 PGI Newsletter
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One of the most dreaded pests in the potato industry--the tuber worm--has been found at Parma in western Idaho.

Already the University of Idaho and the Idaho Department of Agriculture have taken immediate steps to put out pheromone traps to ascertain how many of the pests are in Idaho.

A pest that was a newcomer to the Columbia Basin in Washington and Oregon just five years ago, is costing some growers there up to $200 an acre to control.

Two tuber moths were found at the U of I Parma Research and Extension Center and two others were found in the Parma area.

The pest is considered one of the worst in the potato industry. Growers in The Basin have to spray every five-to-seven days. Realizing the seriousness of the threat, the Idaho industry is initiating a best-management practices program for packers and processors.Processors have already developed a zero tolerance for the tuber worm which burrows into potatoes.

Juan Alvarez, U of I entomologist, says if the pest is brought into the state it will most likely be by trucks because the moth doesn't fly high enough to be carried far in air currents.He also said the pest could be transferred in seed potatoes.

Already, the ISDA has placed 400 traps and the U of I 36 in efforts to determine how many of the moths have reached the state.

PGI is very appreciative of the quick efforts of the U of I and the ISDA to jump on the potential problem to make sure it pest doesn't spread.