The flight take-off frequency of adult Colorado potato beetles, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), from potato plants, Solanum tuberosum L. ‘Red Pontiac’ at the bloom stage of development was 2.2–2.5-fold that of Colorado potato beetle from plants at the vegetative stage. Tests were conducted in a flight chamber over a period of 3 h. Prefeeding Colorado potato beetles for 48 h on potato plants at the bloom or at the vegetative stage before placing them into the flight chamber resulted in the same significantly higher flight take-off frequency from potato plants at the bloom stage than from plants at the vegetative stage. These results demonstrate that the factor in potato plants in bloom that stimulates the flight take-off of the Colorado potato beetle is independent of the feeding history of the beetles and begins acting only when the beetles are in the presence of the plant. According to these results, the dispersal of adult Colorado potato beetles from potato fields in bloom to younger potato fields with plants at the vegetative stage, previously reported in the literature, is at least partly explained by the effect of plant phenology on the frequency of flight take-off. Results confirm the value of planting potato fields of similar phenology over as wide an area as possible to reduce Colorado potato beetle dispersal between fields. Results also imply that staggering the planting dates of conventional potato refuge areas near Colorado potato beetle transgenic or conventionally resistant potato fields is a sound management practice, because it promotes the movement of wild beetles over to the adjacent younger resistant crops.
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Vol. 101 • No. 1