Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), feeding, development, and survival to adulthood were examined after continuously exposing large larvae to Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. tenebrionis-treated potato foliage from the field. In laboratory assays, the overall consumption and the length of period to become prepupae were determined for larvae, which began as 3rd and 4th instars, that were offered potato leaf disks with naturally declining levels of B. thuringiensis residue. In small-cage field experiments, survival to adulthood and the period to adult emergence for beetles confined to potato plants treated with B. thuringiensis beginning as 3rd and 4th instars also were examined. Third instars remaining on plants after a B. thuringiensis application were unlikely to feed and 4th instars consumed only ≈50% as much foliage as those fed untreated foliage. Many late instars subjected to B. thuringiensis-treated foliage failed to survive to adulthood; 58–83% of these beetles died during the larval stage. Reduced feeding and poor survival of late instars suggest that counts of large larvae after application do not provide a complete picture of the efficacy of the B. thuringiensis treatment. Late instar Colorado potato beetles that were exposed continually to naturally declining levels of B. thuringiensis-treated potato foliage took an average of 1.8–4.5 d longer to become prepupae and 4–8 d longer to emerge as adults compared with those provided with untreated foliage. Delayed emergence of adults that fed on B. thuringiensis-treated potatoes as late instars indicated that development was prolonged in these insects because of ingestion of a sublethal dose of B. thuringiensis.
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Vol. 93 • No. 1