The effect of crop rotation on populations of tuber flea beetle, Epitrix tuberis Gentner, in potatoes was investigated using data supplied by an integrated pest management (IPM) company and Geographic Information System software and conventional statistical methods. Using combined 1995 and 1996 data, beetles of the overwintered and F1 generations in both the interior and edges of potato fields showed a significant linear increase with an increase in the preceding consecutive years (0, 1, and 2 years) that the current years’ crop was planted to potatoes. Populations were significantly higher in nonrotated fields compared with rotated fields. Both the percentage of the cropping region requiring insecticidal control of tuber flea beetles and the cost of insecticides per hectare of potatoes grown increased linearly with an increase in the number of previous years planted to potatoes. Not practicing crop rotation resulted in a 4.2–7.3% increase in the cropping region requiring insecticidal control of tuber flea beetles. The cost of controlling beetles in potato fields planted to potatoes for 3 consecutive years was up to $20/ha greater than potatoes rotated from the preceding year. Beetle counts from the interior of rotated potato fields never exceeded threshold levels when field edges also were below threshold. It is concluded that sampling of overwintered beetles in interior sites of rotated fields could be abandoned, and only 1 monitoring scout rather than 2 would be necessary to monitor a field during this time. From these results, we concluded that rotating potato crops would reduce spray costs to the farmer and monitoring costs to IPM companies.
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Vol. 93 • No. 2