Monitoring of 10 and 12 commercial potato, Solanum tuberosum L., fields in 2004 and 2005, respectively, confirmed for a low-density population of Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), that potato fields nearest to the previous year’s potato fields are significantly more colonized by this beetle than more distant fields. This pattern is partially explained by the presence of a reservoir of colonizers estimated at 35% of the season-long colonizing population in 2004 and 2005. These beetles, which emerged before potato plants broke the ground, were ready to establish themselves on nearby potato plants. The colonizing Colorado potato beetles dispersed within the maximum range of 1.5 km over a season, and the colonization risk for the new crop decreased with distance from the previous year’s crop. There was no evidence that rotation distance delayed colonization. In terms of pest management, although the findings confirm that only long 1.5-km rotations can prevent Colorado potato beetle colonization, they also demonstrate that short rotations of 100 m or more can make substantial contributions to pest management programs for low-density beetle populations.
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Vol. 101 • No. 5