The Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), overwinters adjacent to field edges and infests nearby fields in the spring, primarily by walking. Crop rotation is known to be an effective cultural control against Colorado potato beetle populations limiting spring infestations. Spatial separation is an important consideration in optimizing the rotational effect because long-distance rotations have been shown to reduce Colorado potato beetle infestations. To determine the effect of long-distance rotations on Colorado potato beetle populations in commercial Wisconsin potato production, a geographic area of >18,200 ha (>45,000) acres in southern Portage County, Wisconsin, was selected as an experimental area for areawide pest management of the Colorado potato beetle. From 1997 to 1999, beetle populations at edges within each potato field in this region were determined by spring and fall field sampling. The rotational distance between current and previous potato fields was measured and analysis was run between the distance and Colorado potato beetle populations. Long-distance rotations of >400 m were an effective cultural control management strategy to limit adult beetle infestations in the spring. This strategy can be optimized when collaborating growers are able to maximize their rotational distances by coordinating their rotational schemes within large areawide, geographic locations. Deploying long-distance rotations within a geographic area over many years would limit Colorado potato beetle populations and could result in a significantly reduced Colorado potato beetle populations entering fields in the spring.
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Vol. 98 • No. 3