The feeding of soil dwelling insects on storage roots is one of the most serious management issues faced by sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam. (Convolvulaceae), growers in the southern United States. Field studies were conducted to evaluate the relative susceptibility of two commonly grown sweetpotato varieties to sweetpotato flea beetle, Chaetocnema confinis Crotch (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), and wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae, various species). The incidence and severity of sweetpotato flea beetle damage was significantly lower in the variety Covington than Beauregard in two small plot replicated studies. Surveys conducted in commercial sweetpotato fields also showed significantly less sweetpotato flea beetle damage in fields planted to Covington compared with those planted to Beauregard. There was no clear evidence of varietal effect on the incidence of wireworm damage in the study. Results indicate that the severity of wireworm damage as measured by the size of feeding scars may be less in Covington than Beauregard.
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Vol. 104 • No. 1