Promote IPM In Potato Production

Colorado potato beetle pressure is often determined by location and can vary widely.  Photo credit: Tom Kuhar, Virginia Tech
Colorado potato beetle pressure is often determined by location and can vary widely.
Photo credit: Tom Kuhar, Virginia Tech

Colorado potato beetle, potato leafhopper, and wireworms remain some of the most important insect pests of potatoes. In 1996, the first neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid (Admire, Bayer CropScience) was registered for use on potatoes in the U.S., and a few years later, other neonicotinoids, including thiamethoxam, acetamiprid, dinotefuran, and clothianidin would
be registered.

Since that period, neonicotinoids have been the most commonly-used insecticides on potatoes for control of Colorado potato beetle (CPB) as well as other pests such as potato leafhoppers, aphids, and flea beetles. Although they are effective as contact foliar insecticides, it is the ability of these chemicals to translocate from the soil into leaves as systemic insecticides that has been one of the primary reasons for their popularity.

Most potato growers apply these chemicals at planting (Admire Pro, Bayer CropScience; Platinum, Syngenta Crop Protection; Belay and Venom, Valent U.S.A.; Scorpion, Gowan Co.; or Brigadier, FMC Corp.) or as a pre-planting treatment to seed pieces (such as Cruiser, Syngenta Crop Protection; Gaucho, Bayer CropScience; or Admire Pro). Both application methods have been shown to provide long-term (more than 60 days) systemic protection to the potato plant against CPB and potato leafhopper. Most neonicotinoids also provide significant suppression of wireworms that attack the potato seed pieces.

Overcome Resistance
These products have worked well, but insecticide resistance to neonicotinoids has appeared in numerous populations of CPB from the Northeast and Midwest. Managing neonicotinoid resistance in CPB through IPM practices and rotation of insecticide active ingredients is key to sustaining the long-term efficacy of these compounds for potato producers.

Fortunately there are a wide range of registered insecticides today that provide excellent control of CPB and other pests, including Radiant and Blackhawk from Dow AgroSciences; Coragen from DuPont Crop Sciences, and the newly labeled Verimark for soil applications and Exirel for foliar applications both also from DuPont; Voliam Xpress and Agri-Mek from Syngenta Crop Protection; and Rimon from Chemtura Corp.

Many of the alternative chemicals are more IPM-friendly control options that are safer to use around beneficials than the more traditional broad-spectrum organophosphates, carbamates, or pyrethroids.

Embracing IPM
In the true sense of IPM, however, potato growers would not use a preventive control, such as a treatment on seed pieces at planting or spray application. Instead, they would wait until confirming the pest’s presence in the field.

Even though many growers do not want to wait until they see CPB in their fields, there are growers in Virginia who are beginning to adopt IPM tactics and are scouting first and applying a control measure once they see signs of the pest.

What some growers fail to fully understand, though, is that potato plants can withstand some level of defoliation and applying an insecticide immediately may not be necessary. This fact often is a hard sell as most growers simply do not want any sign of CPB in their fields.

Insect Pressure Challenges
CPB pressure is often determined by location and can vary widely. For example, growers in New England and the Pacific Northwest have some CPB pressure but not like the pressure levels in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states, especially when the temperature begins to rise.

As a result the New England and Pacific Northwest growers may have better success employing IPM tactics. For example, one IPM practice is to only treat potato field perimeters with a crop protectant. The expected outcome is that the beetles will be killed as they walk along field edges, unable to harm the potato plants inside the perimeter.

What isn’t taken into consideration, however, is that as the temperature climbs to 80°F and above, in Southern states rising temperature is conducive for the beetles to take flight. The bottom line: They aren’t walking through the perimeter of the field to get to the potato plants. They are flying in, making the perimeter sprays moot.

In the end, growers need to determine what will work best for them based on their location in the country. They must consider neonicotinoids as one tool in the tool box, and opt to rotate with other chemistries to avoid resistance issues.

Editor’s Note: The information for this article was contributed by Tom Kuhar (, a professor in the Department of Entomology at Virgina Tech and is based on a presentation he gave at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Integrated Pest Management Stories
The Latest
FruitsNew Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Killer Discovered In Pac…
October 22, 2015
Parasitic wasp find leads Washington State University researchers to declare ‘We struck it rich.’ Read More
Crop ProtectionEPA Registers New Bionematicide
October 15, 2015
Marrone Bio Innovations product provides new mode of action, keeping insect eggs from hatching. Read More
Crop ProtectionRegional Integrated Pest Management Grants Reduced Pest…
July 22, 2015
The program created tools and training information designed for Western growers. Read More
FruitsNew Integrated Pest Management App Available
May 12, 2015
A new free app, IPMinfo, has been developed by University of California (UC) Cooperative Extension’s Surendra Dara in an effort Read More
blue orchard bee
Integrated Pest ManagementBlue Orchard Bee Shows Promise As An Alternative Pollin…
March 30, 2015
The native bee Osmia lignaria could soon be a valuable piece of the pollinator mix, especially for smaller almond growers. Read More
FruitsBiocontrols Event Draws Rave Reviews
March 23, 2015
Conference devoted to discussion of biological means to control pests and diseases held last month in Fresno, CA. Read More
Florida organic strawberry research
FruitsParry America Aims To Boost Biopesticide Business Via S…
March 19, 2015
Brian Dockery tapped to drive growth of company’s specialty crop sector. Read More
FruitsStink Bug Predator Found In U.S.
March 18, 2015
Wasp native to Asia attacks brown marmorated stink bug eggs. Read More
recently harvested avocadoes
Disease ControlUAVs, Dogs Called In To Battle Deadly Avocado Fungus 
March 18, 2015
Florida International University researchers team modern technology with man’s best friend to hunt down and detect laurel wilt disease. Read More
CitrusIPM Is Now Mainstream In The West
March 12, 2015
New Western IPM Center report shows integrated pest management is widely used and has slashed pesticide use in the western U.S. Read More
Crop ProtectionAt Paramount Farming, Mating Disruption Pays Off
February 10, 2015
To say Brad Higbee is an expert in mating disruption, the use of pheromones to confuse target pests and reduce Read More
Integrated Pest ManagementWhat You Need To Know To Maintain An Effective IPM Prog…
January 28, 2015
Greenhouse expert Karin Tifft discusses the importance of scouting, pest identification, control options, and the importance of sanitation. Read More
BerriesStrawberry Growers Get New Disease-Fighting Smartphone …
January 12, 2015
Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference attendees get first look at ‘MyIPM.’ Read More
Apples & PearsManage Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Without Abandoning I…
January 5, 2015
Research shows a mix of traps, monitoring, and insecticides can help Eastern peach growers keep brown marmorated stink bug in check. Read More
GrapesAn All-Encompassing Look At Grape Pests
December 30, 2014
A conversation with Larry Bettiga, who literally edited the book "Grape Pest Management." Read More
CitrusRamped-Up Predatory Mite Production To Benefit Growers
November 21, 2014
Biologics company Beneficial Insectary now rearing two species in its California facility. Read More
BerriesNew Study Finds Simple Solution To Monitoring Spotted W…
July 31, 2014
UF/IFAS researchers are using a mixture of yeast, sugar, and water to lure, trap major berry pest. Read More
Apples & PearsAn Awakening To The Value Of Biopesticides [Opinion]
July 25, 2014
With the entry of major suppliers into the biopesticide arena, whether or not biopesticides work is no longer the question. Now, people want to understand how they work. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]