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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Dickens, Joseph - Dick

Submitted to: Agricultural and Forest Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/5/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The Colorado potato beetle (CPB) is a major insect pest of potatoes and other solanaceous plants in North America and Europe. Insecticides used to control pestiferous CPB populations are often short-lived as CPB are well known to develop resistance to them. Alternate means of control, e.g. attractants, are urgently needed as components of integrated control. Although attraction of CPB to potato plants has been recognized for over 75 years, chemical blends responsible for attraction were unknown. In my current study, 16 synthetic blends and individual chemicals emitted by potato plants were investigated for behavioral activity based on an earlier study. Six blends were attractive, two blends were repellant, and five blends and three individual chemicals elicited no preference in laboratory bioassays. CPB did not differentiate between two attractive blends, or an attractive synthetic blend versus potato foliage. The discovery of chemical blends that are attractive to CPB will be used by entomologists to develop an attractant for field use and molecular plant biologists to engineer plants to have volatile profiles that may enhance CPB control.

Technical Abstract: Behavioral responses of Colorado potato beetle (CPB) to volatiles emitted from solanaceous host plants (potato and tomato), a nonhost legume (soybean), 13 synthetic blends and three individual chemicals emitted by potato plants were investigated in laboratory bioassays. Both sexes of CPB were attracted to volatiles emitted by mechanically damaged (MD) potato foliage but not to MD tomato foliage; CPB offered a choice between the two MD solanaceous plants showed no preference. Among blends or individual chemical components of potato emissions tested, six blends were attractive, two were repellant and eight elicited no preference. Blends containing relatively high amounts of the green leaf volatiles or a sesquiterpene were unattractive or repellant. Minimal blends attracted to CPB were comprised of two or three specific chemicals; the combination of all three chemicals elicited sexually dimorphic behavior. No significant difference was noted between two attractive blends, or an attractive blend versus MD potato foliage. These results show that CPB are attracted to blends of specific chemicals emitted by host plants and provide a basis for use of plant attractants as a component of integrated management.

Last Modified: 07/27/2017
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