Potato Research

, Volume 60, Issue 3–4, pp 269–285 | Cite as

Wireworm and Flea Beetle IPM in Potatoes in Canada: Implications for Managing Emergent Problems in Europe

  • R. Vernon
  • W. van Herk


Three species of wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) known to cause severe damage to potatoes in Europe and Asia have been introduced to Canada and are now well established as pests in the westernmost province of British Columbia (BC) (Agriotes obscurus and A. lineatus) and the eastern provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (A. obscurus, A. lineatus and A. sputator). Conventional insecticide-based efforts to control these invasive pests have had serious environmental impacts, or are failing to prevent severe economic damage from occurring to potatoes in some key potato production areas. Research toward developing an IPM programme for these exotic species has been completed or is underway in Canada, including the following: biological and ecological studies, development of monitoring and risk assessment programmes, and development of insecticidal and alternative control strategies. This research is summarized and implications for wireworm management in Europe are discussed. In addition to wireworms, one of the primary economic insect pests of potatoes in BC is the tuber flea beetle, Epitrix tuberis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). The larvae of this beetle feed on developing or mature daughter tubers, producing surface channels or tracks and holes directly into the tuber. In the past, growers would apply 7–10 foliar sprays of broad-spectrum insecticides per growing season, which was not always successful in controlling this pest. In the EU, a newly identified flea beetle, Epitrix papa sp. n., as well as the North American species, E. cucumeris, have been identified as attacking potatoes initially in Portugal (2004) and later also in Spain. The potential spread of these emergent pests to various EU and non-EU countries is of concern, and if established would require the development of management strategies. The former development of a highly effective IPM programme developed in BC for E. tuberis is discussed, as is its potential for E. papa and E. cucumeris management in Europe.


Agriotes Emergent pests Epitrix Flea beetles IPM Wireworms 


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© Crown 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaAgassizCanada

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