Diamond Back Moth

Plutella xylostella, Diamond Back Moth

Plutella xylostella, the diamond-back moth feeds on the leaves of certain types of vegetables including cabbage. It is distributed throughout the USA, Canada, Australia, Asia and the Middle East. It is has become an emerging problem in the United Kingdom with reports of the moth reaching ‘plague proportions’ in farms where cabbages are grown.

Russell IPM manufacture and supply pheromone lures, traps and complete monitoring systems for Diamond Back Moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella. Pheromone trap data will provide an early warning to potential infestation and also indicates the density of the insect population.

The diamond back moth, Plutella xylostella is a serious insect of cabbage, kale, rapeseed, broccoli, turnip and cauliflower. On young seedlings the growing point of the plant may be damaged, often resulting in the death of the plant.


Three to six generations of P. xylosetella occur per year in various agro-ecological zones. The moths emerge from the over-wintered pupae at the end of May. The second flight occurs at the end of June; where the moths are more numerous and, in July and August, damage is greater. In autumn, the caterpillars spin cocoons for themselves denser than the spring and summer cocoons and then enter hibernation.



Russell IPM manufactures and supplies pheromones, traps and surveillance systems for the complete control of the diamond back moth, Plutella xylostella. The data collected from pheromone traps can give an early warning of infestation and also alert the user to low populations before they become serious.

Recent Literature

Choi S. W. et al., (2015) Economic Threshold for the Diamondback Moth (Plutella xylostella). Korean Society of Applied Entomology

This study was conducted to estimate the economic injury level (EIL) to leaf broccoli (leaf vegetable) by the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) in 2007 and obtain basic data for pest management. To investigate the relationship between initial density of diamondback moth larvae and broccoli leaf yield, experimental plots with five treatments (0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 larvae per plant) as initial density were established. We inoculated larvae on cheesecloth covering to survey changes in larval density. When grown for consumption, leaves of broccoli are harvested in periods. High levels of larvae were associated with significant reductions in leaf yield. There were 0%, 15%, 35%, 42%, 44% yield reductions due to a density of 0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 diamond back moth larvae per plant, respectively, 25 days after larva inoculation. The regression equation used to predict leaf yield based on the number of initial larvae per plant was y = 1636-394x(>). EIL of the diamondback moth on leaf broccoli was 2~3 larvae per 10 plants for a damage level of 5%. The economic threshold was 1~2 larvae per 10 plants. Thus, diamondback moth management should be initiated when 1~2 larvae appear on 10 plants.

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Furlong, M. J. et al., (2013), Diamondback Moth Ecology and Management: Problems, Progress, and Prospects. Annual Review of Entomology

Agricultural intensification and greater production of Brassica vegetable and oilseed crops over the past two decades have increased the pest status of the diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella L., and it is now estimated to cost the world economy US$4–5 billion annually. Our understanding of some fundamental aspects of DBM biology and ecology, particularly host plant relationships, tritrophic interactions, and migration, has improved considerably but knowledge of other aspects, e.g., its global distribution and relative abundance, remains surprisingly limited. Biological control still focuses almost exclusively on a few species of hymenopteran parasitoids. Although these can be remarkably effective, insecticides continue to form the basis of management; their inappropriate use disrupts parasitoids and has resulted in field resistance to all available products. Improved ecological understanding and the availability of a series of highly effective selective insecticides throughout the 1990s provided the basis for sustainable and economically viable integrated pest management (IPM) approaches. However, repeated reversion to scheduled insecticide applications has resulted in resistance to these and more recently introduced compounds and the breakdown of IPM programs. Proven technologies for the sustainable management of DBM currently exist, but overcoming the barriers to their sustained adoption remains an enormous challenge.

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