North America

US: Helpful tips on scouting potato fields for insect pests

Peach-Aphids-on-a-potato-leaf-Photo-by-Carrie-WohlebAccording to Carrie Huffman Wohleb, “the insect monitoring network in potato fields I operate across Washington’s Columbia Basin provides growers information about where and when insect pests are showing up in the region and warns them about potential pest problems. It’s not intended to replace a grower’s scouting activities but is a guide for what to look for. Similar programs are found throughout North America. They can be very helpful since pest populations often vary within a region and from year to year.” It’s important to be familiar with how insect pests common in your region behave. For example, Colorado potato beetles overwinter in the soil in the previous year’s potato fields. They emerge in the spring and can fly several miles in search of host plants, but usually end up in the nearest potatoes they can find. It’s difficult to scout for an insect pest if you can’t recognize it. Some insects are easy to identify, and some are challenging. Insect identification guides can be helpful. You can also ask an expert to train you to identify the key pests in your region. Read more