The abundance of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), in organically grown potato did not change significantly in response to increasing rates of dehydrated poultry manure. However, peaks of abundance of larvae were shifted forward in time in response to the high rate of organic fertilizer. Tests using excised foliage showed that the shift was not caused by differential larval mortality or longer developmental times. Time allocation to resting, walking, and feeding by adults was similar regardless of fertilizer rate. Adult foliage consumption was unaffected by organic fertilizer rates in no choice tests and significantly affected in few choice tests. A 22% longer larval development time on plants treated with low fertilizer rate than on plants with high rate was the most significant effect. Even though maximum plant height, canopy, biomass, and yield were significantly smaller in the organic than in conventional plots, the suitability of the plants was not affected except for reduced feeding by summer beetles. Summer adults spent less time feeding and consumed two to five times less foliage on organic potato than on inorganically fertilized and conventionally produced plants. The overall influence of fertilizer on Colorado potato beetle populations was limited and therefore can only play a secondary role in management strategies for organic potato. Avoidance of excessive organic fertilizer that promotes short larval development time and extension of the period over which large Colorado potato beetle larvae are present should be recommended.
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