Cultivation/Production, Pests and Diseases, Research

US: AgriLife Research testing potato psyllids for insecticide resistance

Dr. Ada Szczepaniec, Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologist, examines psyllid activity. (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Kay Ledbetter)A growing resistance of potato psyllids to the neonicotinoid classification of insecticides has Dr. Ada Szczepaniec, Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologist in Amarillo, looking to the future. The potato psyllid is a tiny insect with sucking, piercing mouthparts that transmits a disease called zebra chip and can cause tremendous losses to producers, Szczepaniec said. Producers have used the neonicotinoid insecticides to protect their solanaceous crops, mostly potatoes, in the past. The problem, she said, is many of these psyllids migrate from Mexico up into the Rio Grande Valley, and Mexico does not have as stringent of application regulations as the U.S. The aggressive use of the product in Mexico has allowed the psyllids to develop a resistance over time to the insecticide. “It only takes a few psyllids to cause tremendous losses to a crop because they do not need to feed for a prolonged period of time to transmit the disease,” Szczepaniec said. More

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