Researchers at the Montcalm Research Center
are studying Michigan potato’s number one pest: the Colorado potato beetle.
The problem with this insect is because of the insecticide resistance, so these beetles
are really good at becoming resistant to insecticides, and in fact, they have become resistant to
all the insecticides so far that we’re aware of.
The one insecticide still able to control the beetle is quickly becoming of no use.
Scientists are investigating the mechanisms in the beetle, how they are able to survive
the toxic effect, and are developing other strategies to control the resistant beetle.
If we were to find that they’re resistant in the field and growers have trouble controlling
them, what other strategies are there that they can use to effectively kill the insects?
In the lab, three different doses of insecticide are applied.
This is poisoned, it is alive, but not dead, but you can see it is intoxicated by the insecticide.
We have some walking, so in this dose we have some walking, and with the highest doses we
have some that will be dead, totally dead, and they turn dark. The damage is very devastating
because both larvae and adults feed on the foliage.
Genes were targeted by a method called gene silencing.
So we’re trying to see if there are any particular genes that are associated with
insecticide resistance that we can target and sort of next generation of insect control
is what we’re looking at there. That’s kind of far off into the future, but it’s
probably going to be the way insects are mostly controlled in the coming years.
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