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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Martel, John
item Alford, Randall
item Dickens, Joseph - Dick

Submitted to: Agricultural and Forest Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/30/2004
Publication Date: 2/1/2005
Citation: Martel, J.W., Alford, R.A., Dickens, J.C. 2005. Synthetic host volatiles increase efficacy of trap cropping for management of colorado potato beetle, leptinotarsa decemlineata. Agricultural and Forest Entomology. 7:71-78.

Interpretive Summary: The Colorado potato beetle is one of the most destructive insect pests of cultivated potatoes in North America and Europe. The beetle has developed resistance to all insecticides applied for its control and even to potato plants genetically engineered to produce a lethal bacterial toxin. Alternative control measures are desperately needed to manage pest populations, decrease levels of pesticides, and slow development of resistance to control measures. We tested the attractiveness of a synthetic plant attractant in the potato ecosystem then utilized the attractant as a component of a trap crop strategy for beetle management. Traps baited with the synthetic plant attractant were more attractive than controls. When applied as a border treatment to protect a potato crop, more Colorado potato beetles were found in the attractant-treated trap crop than in untreated trap crops. Defoliation was less in plots bordered by attractant treated trap crops. Conventionally-managed plots using only insecticide and plots bordered by attractant-treated trap crops had similar yields, and 44% less insecticide was needed in plots bordered by attractant-treated trap crops. These results show that the synthetic plant attractant is active in the potato ecosystem, and may be used to manage beetle populations with decreased amounts of pesticide. Knowledge from this study will be used by ecologists and pest management strategists to develop alternative strategies for Colorado potato beetle management using the synthetic plant attractant.

Technical Abstract: The attractiveness of pitfall traps baited with a synthetic host volatile attractant to colonizing adult Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), and its application to a comprehensive trap crop pest management strategy were evaluated in a field setting. Significantly more colonizing adult L. decemlineata were captured in baited than unbaited pitfall traps. More colonizing adults, egg masses, and small larvae were present in attractant-treated trap crops than in untreated trap crops. There were no significant differences in egg mass and small larvae densities between plots bordered by attractant-treated trap crops and conventionally-managed plots, but there were significantly fewer large larvae and adult beetles in conventionally-managed plots than in plots bordered by untreated and attractant-treated trap crops. Plant canopy area of conventionally-managed plots was significantly higher than in plots bordered by either type of trap crop. Yields for conventionally-managed plots and plots bordered by attractant-treated trap crops did not differ and less insecticide (44%) was applied to plots bordered by attractant-treated trap crops.

Last Modified: 07/26/2017
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