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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Low-input, low-cost IPM program helps manage potato psyllid


Potato psyllid is a pest of solanaceous plants throughout much of the western United States, including California, where it has increased and is now overwintering. The psyllid affects its plant hosts from direct feeding and by transmitting a plant pathogenic bacterium, Lso. Millions of dollars of damages have occurred in the U.S. potato industry, and a large acreage of crops is susceptible in California. Control is complicated because different crops have different pest complexes and susceptibilities to Lso; currently most growers use multiple pesticide applications, including broad-spectrum insecticides. Results of our field trials at South Coast Research and Extension Center indicate that the use of broad-spectrum insecticides actually increases psyllid numbers in both peppers and potatoes. We have developed a low-input IPM program, which in field trials produced encouraging results in peppers, potatoes and tomatoes compared to broad-spectrum insecticides. Economic analysis showed the low-input IPM approach was more cost effective than a standard insecticide program in tomatoes.

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