Key pests of potatoes in Canada.
The potato crop is estimated to contribute 63% to the vegetable revenue in Canada. Like most agricultural crops, the potato crop yield is compromised by attacks of several insect pests during the growing season. Pests such as the Colorado potato beetle, the European corn borer, wireworms and tuber flea beetle can cause serious problems for potato production. Lack of control applications can result in major economic losses to the producer. In Canada, growers employ an Integrated Pest Management approach by using several techniques to manage and keep pest populations below economic thresholds in the potato crop. Some of the techniques used are: monitoring populations with pheromone and bait traps, use of degree days to estimate emergence, scouting fields to determine population levels, use of economic thresholds for a more precise application of insecticides and biological, cultural and mechanical control techniques. The objective of several research projects in Canada is to develop and refine control techniques and obtain a better understanding of the pests. The main objective for both the growers and the researchers is to reduce the amount of pesticides needed to control these insect pests in potatoes, while maintaining economic benefits for the producers.