Submitted to: Pesticide Outlook
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 2003
Publication Date: February 15, 2004
Citation: Weber, D.C. 2004. "colorado potato beetle:pest on the move". Pesticide Outlook. Vol. #14 Pg. 256-259
In spite of almost 150 years of research on Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae); CPB), knowledge of its biology and management is still surprisingly incomplete. CPB is a highly fecund leaf-feeder on potato and eggplant, and often tomatoes, with one to several generations per year. It is the most important insect pest of potato over most of its geographical range, about 8 million km² in North America and a like but expanding area in Eurasia. Potentially severe yield loss depends on timing, variety, and other crop stresses.
Resistance to all major insecticide classes, most recently neonicotinoids, has prompted development of still more chemical controls as well as alternatives. Understanding and averting this resistance requires not only knowledge of genetic and biochemical mechanisms, but also ecological and behavioral insights, especially into the movement of beetles in the field, associated with selection and gene flow.
Promising alternatives or complements to chemical controls include native and introduced biological controls, crop rotation, trap crops, and use of newly-discovered plant kairomones and a male-produced aggregation pheromone.
Two natural enemies native to North America are occasionally abundant but population ecology is essentially unknown. Lebia grandis is a carabid predator of CPB eggs and larvae as an adult, and a pupal parasitoid of CPB in its larval stage. Two species of Myiopharus (Diptera: Tachinidae) larviposit into larval or adult CPB, and overwinter as an early-instar larva inside the adult.
Habitat modification such as use of cover crops and mulches has the potential to enhance biological controls or otherwise suppress the pest. Above all, integration of multiple effective tactics will be essential for a sustainable approach to CPB management.