Seasonal Occurrence and Abundance of Insect Pests and Natural Enemies in the Columbia Basin Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/k643b444f

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  • Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is the fourth largest food crop in the world following rice (Oryza sativa L.), wheat (Triticum spp.), and maize (Zea mays subs. mays). Potatoes arrived in the United States in the early 1600s and over the following centuries, the crop was subsequently cultivated across the country and world. The highest productive potato region in North America is in the Columbia Basin of Eastern Oregon and Washington. The Columbia Basin (OR and WA) and Idaho account for close to 60% of United States production of both fresh and processed potatoes. This thesis, entitled “Seasonal occurrence and abundance of insect pests and natural enemies in the Columbia Basin” is divided in three chapters, the first being an overarching introduction that ties together the common themes of the following research based chapters. In the second chapter we document a field experiment we conducted on the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli Sulc (Hemiptera: Triozidae), a key potato pest that has the ability to vector the plant pathogenic bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (Lso). In this study, we also collected data on insect predators (natural enemies), specifically the taxa: Geocoris spp., Nabis spp., and Orius spp. The literature indicates that the potato psyllid has a close affinity for solanaceous crops and weeds and our hypothesis was that the presence of potato psyllids in crops such as maize or wheat was due to the presence of volunteer potatoes. In the region, potatoes are in rotation with both maize and wheat. Thus, the objectives of this study were to (1) evaluate the role of potato, maize, and wheat, as well as maize planted with volunteer potatoes and wheat planted with volunteer potatoes on the population dynamics of potato psyllids and natural enemies and (2) compare two sampling techniques: sticky traps and inverted leaf blowers, for monitoring potato psyllids adults and natural enemies. Data collected in this study suggested that potato psyllids have an affinity for potato crops even in the presence of a diverse crop landscape and also that differences may occur between trapping methods. Potato psyllids were rarely found in maize and wheat and were more likely to be found in plots containing volunteer potatoes. Little association was found between crop treatment and natural enemy presence. However, there were differences in potato psyllid and natural enemy captures when using both collection methods and they were present in all crop treatments tested. These results have implications for potato psyllid management as well as utilizing natural enemies for suppression of key pests. The third chapter was designed to provide regional information on aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in the Columbia Basin (Umatilla and Morrow Counties) and Eastern Oregon (Union and Baker Counties). The potato aphid (PA) Macrosiphum euphorbiae Thomas, the green peach aphid (GPA) Myzus persicae Sulzer, and various other aphids (OA) were the focus of this study. The objectives were to (1) determine spatial, yearly, and weekly trends in GPA, PA, and OA populations in the Columbia Basin and (2) determine abiotic environmental variables that could potentially have a significant impact on population levels in the following growing season. In our analysis, we observed that aphid populations were distributed heterogeneously both spatially and temporally with large differences in aphid numbers between species, year, and trapping locations. We also found that aphids were influenced by previous season dew point, previous season temperature, and to a lesser extent by elevation. This data supports the conclusion that aphid populations respond in a complex fashion to environmental variables and that managing aphid populations requires the collection of ample data. These results indicate the difficulty in managing aphid pests.
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