1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
To develop and formulate effective management strategies to reduce damages caused by insect pests to the tree fruit and vegetable crops.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Conduct laboratory and field experiments to gain understanding of behavior, ecology, physiology, genetics, and diseases of potato and tree fruit insect pests. Monitor and manage pest populations in crops.
3. Progress Report
The project goal is to develop management strategies for insect pests of potato and tree fruits. The project addresses NP304 2A, Protection of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops, Biology and Ecology of Pests and Natural Enemies, because the work aims to develop information on a set of pests of potato, apple, and other crops. Insect pests of potato and tree fruits are a serious threat to the potato and fruit industry. Research collaboration has been established between ARS and Washington State University to design and conduct laboratory and field experiments to describe the biology and ecology of insect pests of potatoes and tree fruits. Also, studies to develop effective monitoring program and management tools for insect pests of potatoes and tree fruits were conducted. Three graduate students described the biology and ecology of the potato psyllid and beet leafhopper and associated pathogens, research that will lead to development of effective management strategies for these two insect pests of potato to reduce incidence of zebra chip and purple top, two economically important diseases of potato in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest of the U.S. It was discovered that psyllid adults were more efficient in transmitting zebra chip to potato than their immature stages. It was also determined that a single psyllid was as damaging as 25 psyllids per plant when feeding for as little as six hours, causing substantial potato yield loss and reduction in tuber processing quality. This information will help potato producers minimize damage caused by zebra chip by particularly selecting and applying fast acting insecticides targeted against the potato psyllid adults. Furthermore, using protein markers, source and movement of the beet leafhopper from weedy areas to potato crops were determined. Information from this research will allow growers to effectively target beet leafhoppers for control in their wild habitat before they can move to and damage potato crops. This project addresses objective 3 of the related in-house project. Monitoring of activities and progress on this project was accomplished by direct supervision of on-site employees, and use of site visits, e-mail and telephone to communicate with off-site collaborators.