Counts of green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), in potato, Solanum tuberosum L., fields were used to evaluate the performance of the sampling plan from a pest management company. The counts were further used to develop a binomial sampling method, and both full count and binomial plans were evaluated using operating characteristic curves. Taylor’s power law provided a good fit of the data (r2 = 0.95), with the relationship between the variance (s2) and mean (m) as ln(s2) = 1.81(± 0.02) 1.55(± 0.01)ln(m). A binomial sampling method was developed using the empirical model ln(m) = c dln(−ln(1 − PT)), to which the data fit well for tally numbers (T) of 0, 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10. Although T = 3 was considered the most reasonable given its operating characteristics and presumed ease of classification above or below critical densities (i.e., action thresholds) of one and 10 M. persicae per leaf, the full count method is shown to be superior. The mean number of sample sites per field visit by the pest management company was 42 ± 19, with more than one-half (54%) of the field visits involving sampling 31–50 sample sites, which was acceptable in the context of operating characteristic curves for a critical density of 10 M. persicae per leaf. Based on operating characteristics, actual sample sizes used by the pest management company can be reduced by at least 50%, on average, for a critical density of 10 M. persicae per leaf. For a critical density of one M. persicae per leaf used to avert the spread of potato leaf roll virus, sample sizes from 50 to 100 were considered more suitable.
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Vol. 99 • No. 3