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Title: What is the source of potato psyllids colonizing Washington, Oregon, and Idaho potato fields?

item Horton, David
item Munyaneza, Joseph - Joe
item Swisher Grimm, Kylie
item ECHEGARAY, ERIK - Oregon State University
item MURPHY, ALEXZANDRA - Oregon State University
item RONDON, SILVIA - Oregon State University
item SENGODA, VENKATESAN - Washington State University
item Neven, Lisa
item JENSEN, ANDREW - Washington State Potato Foundation

Submitted to: Potato Progress
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/12/2014
Publication Date: 1/30/2014
Citation: Horton, D.R., Munyaneza, J.E., Swisher, K.D., Echegaray, E., Murphy, A., Rondon, S., Sengoda, V., Neven, L.G., Jensen, A. 2014. What is the source of potato psyllids colonizing Washington, Oregon, and Idaho potato fields?. Potato Progress. 14(2): 1-7.

Interpretive Summary: Zebra chip, an economically important disease of potato in the United States, is vectored by the potato psyllid. Researchers at USDA-ARS Wapato in Washington, in collaboration with scientists from Oregon State University and the potato industry in the Pacific Northwest, determined the source of potato psyllids colonizing potato fields in this major potato growing region. It was discovered that bittersweet nightshade, an introduced weed of widespread abundance in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, is an important source of psyllid populations invading potatoes in the region. This information will help potato growers minimize damage due to zebra chip by allowing them to monitor and control the psyllid vector on bittersweet nightshade.

Technical Abstract: Managing zebra chip disease in the potato growing regions of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho is complicated by confusion about the geographic source of the insect vector (potato psyllid) as it colonizes potato fields in these growing regions. Not knowing the source of the vector makes it difficult for growers in these northern growing regions to anticipate when (seasonally) the insect will be arriving in fields. We show that this confusion extends as far back as the early- to mid-1900’s. We propose that difficulties in determining the source of psyllids in northern growing regions has been caused by poor understanding of the psyllid’s overwintering biology, combined with a lack of information on how overwintered psyllids survive in early spring before the potato crop has germinated. Our recent discovery that a perennial species of weedy Solanum (bittersweet nightshade; S. dulcamara) is a winter and early spring host of potato psyllid may substantially answer questions about the psyllid’s continued existence in northern growing regions.