Potato Pests and Diseases

Increasing potato production while protecting producers, consumers, and the environment requires an integrated approach encompassing a range of strategies: encouraging natural pest predators, breeding varieties with pest/disease resistance, planting clean seed, rotating with other crops, and organic composting to improve soil quality.

Pests

  • Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) is a serious pest with strong resistance to insecticides.
  • Potato tuber moth, most commonly Phthorimaea operculella, is the most damaging pest of planted and stored potatoes in warm, dry areas.
  • Leafminer fly (Liriomyza huidobrensis) is a South American native common in areas where insecticides are used intensively.
  • Cyst nematodes (Globodera pallida and G. rostochiensis) are serious soil pests in temperate regions, the Andes, and other highland areas.

Diseases

Viruses are disseminated in tubers and can cut yields by 50 percent.

  • Late blight, the most serious potato disease worldwide, is caused by a water mould, Phytophthora infestans, that destroys leaves, stems, and tubers.
  • Bacterial wilt, caused by the bacterial pathogen, leads to severe losses in tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions.
  • Potato blackleg, a bacterial infection, causes tubers to rot in the ground and in storage.

 

Some of Potato’s Enemies

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