Wild-type and polyhedrin-negative isolates of Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus were replicated in fifth-instar Trichoplusia ni larvae. Insect tissues infected with wild-type virus contained two types of virions that are highly infectious when ingested, those occluded in polyhedra and preoccluded virions. Tissue infected with the polyhedrin-negative virus contained only preoccluded virions. The relative potencies of the two types of infected tissue were determined by dose-mortality bioassays by using the neonate droplet feeding procedure. On a fresh weight basis, preparations of tissues infected with the polyhedrin-negative virus were approximately four times more potent than equivalent preparations of tissue infected with wild-type virus. Approximately half of the observed potency of the wild-type-virus preparations was due to polyhedra, and the remaining activity was due to preoccluded virions present in the tissue. The potency of the polyhedrin-negative preparations was not reduced significantly by lyophilization. The polyhedrin-negative isolate produced about 60% more infectious virus per unit of larval weight than did the wild-type isolate. The ability to produce large amounts of high-potency viral preparations in larvae and the convenience of being able to lyophilize the preparations for long-term storage shows promise for the use of preoccluded virus preparations as biopesticides.