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Colorado Potato Beetles in the News

Friday May 27, 2022

Colorado potato beetles (CPB) have been mentioned a lot in recent popular press articles. Most of the articles explain CPB's amazing ability to develop resistance to insecticides, and many present ways to avoid or delay this process. Here are a few articles about this notorious potato pest that you might be interested in reading...

Photo of adult Colorado potato beetle by David Cappaert, Bugwood.org.


Colorado potato beetle insecticide resistance requires vigilance, stewardship - By Russel L. Groves, University of Wisconsin.  Published by Spudman Magazine, April 2022.

This lengthy article mainly focuses on CPB management with insecticides. It was written by a foremost expert on the pest, Dr. Russ Groves. He reports that continued reliance on neonicotinoids for managing CPB has contributed to resistant beetle populations in areas in the East and Midwest. This necessitates a change in strategy. He notes that, "Transitioning from a continuous, at-plant neonicotinoid pest management program to one that incorporates newer RR (reduced risk) insecticides will provide some challenges for growers who are accustomed to uniform, broad-spectrum pest control provided by these systemic insecticides." Dr. Groves mentions some alternative insecticides in the article, and details several insecticide product rotation plans for managing CPB over a two-generation lifecycle, and over three production seasons.


How to Stop Colorado Potato Beetles From Sacking Your Spuds - By Carrie H. Wohleb, Washington State University. Published online by Growing Produce, May 25, 2022.

This article is a quick read. It includes several tips for controlling CPBs and avoiding insecticide resistance, such as rotating and separating crops, proper preparation of insecticide spray mixes, timing insecticide applications for best effect, and rotating pesticide modes of action. There are also notes about neonicotinoid insecticides, and how volunteer potatoes affect CPB appearance in the crop.


Super Pest? - By Eric Hamilton, Potato Grower Magazine.  Published online April 26, 2022.

This short article summarizes the research findings of Dr. Sean Schoville and his colleagues, who studied the CPB genome to understand how this pest evolves rapidly to overcome susceptibility to insecticides. "This rapid evolution based on a wealth of existing genetic diversity is at odds with an older model of evolution that assumed rare mutations have to slowly arise in a population. While new mutations do develop and can contribute to insecticide resistance, the potato beetle's rapid response to new chemicals in different parts of the country can be explained only by its existing diversity."