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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Poplarville, Mississippi » Southern Horticultural Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #174128


item Boyd Jr, David
item Pounders Jr, Cecil

Submitted to: International Plant Propagators Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2004
Publication Date: 6/1/2005
Citation: Boyd Jr, D.W., Pounders Jr, C.T. 2005. Metallic flea beetle feeding preferences on crape myrtle. Combined Proceedings International Plant Propagator's Society. 54:628-631

Interpretive Summary: Commercially grown crape myrtles are often attacked by beetles which causes significant problems for growers. We evaluated in the laboratory and field over 40 cultivars of crape myrtles to establish which cultivars were resistant to the metallic flea beetle. We found that most of the crape myrtle cultivars that resulted from crosses between two species of crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica and L. fauriei) were resistant to the beetles. This information will be used by growers to reduce time and effort in controlling the beetles in their crape myrtle fields by reducing the number of cultivars that need to be monitored and sprayed. This information will be used by plant breeders to select for crape myrtles with beetle resistance along with other desirable horticultural traits.

Technical Abstract: Field and laboratory studies were conducted to determine resistance of crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia spp.) to metallic flea beetles (Altica spp.). Damage ratings showed variation among cultivars in susceptibility to beetle feeding, with those cultivars with L. fauriei in their parentage showing the least amount of damage, with a couple of exceptions. Feeding studies in the laboratory corresponded with the damage ratings. The data indicate that the beetle feeds more profusely on certain cultivars of L. indica, such as 'Country Red'; 'Twilight'; and 'Carolina Beauty'; than interspecifc cultivars with L. fauriei in their parentage, such as 'Natchez'; 'Tonto'; and 'Muskogee'. With this information, growers can more effectively target scouting measures to the most susceptible cultivars and breeders can select plants that will require the fewest chemical inputs.