Crop Rotation Reduces the Cost of Colorado Potato Beetle Control in Potatoes

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  • 1 Senior research specialist, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Eastern Shore AREC, 33446 Research Drive, Painter, VA 23420.
  • 2 Associate professor, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Eastern Shore AREC, 33446 Research Drive, Painter, VA 23420.

The effect of crop rotation was investigated on the efficacy and the economics of various insecticide strategies for Colorado potato beetle (CPB) control in potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) in 1995-96. These included broad-spectrum insecticides and biorational (environmentally friendly, naturally occurring) combinations that targeted specific CPB life stages. CPB pressure was greater in the nonrotated than the rotated plots. Although all materials gave better CPB control than the check, significantly more spray applications were required to reduce CPB numbers below treatment thresholds in the nonrotated plots than the rotated plots in both years. Overall yields and economic returns were significantly greater in the rotated plots in 1995. Efficacy of insecticide strategies varied, with little defoliation and few CPB larvae found in the imidacloprid treatment in 1995 and 1996. All insecticide strategies except endosulfan resulted in significantly higher estimated returns to management than the untreated check; the greatest returns occurred with permethrin and cryolite. No yields or returns could be obtained in 1996 due to excessive rainfall before harvest. These results indicate that yield and the cost of the insecticide strategy should be considered as well as insecticide efficacy in developing an effective integrated pest management program.

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