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Impact of Alfalfa Harvest on Potato Leafhopper Populations with Emphasis on Nymphal Survival

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Egg, nymphal, and adult populations of Empoasca fabae (Harris) were monitored in 2 fields in Montgomery Co., Va., during 1976 and 1977. Centigrade degree day (COD) accumulations for egg and nymphal development were related to alfalfa growth and harvest date. Effect of harvest on nymphal survival and subsequent buildup of potato leafhopper populations also were investigated. In general, development from egg to adult, using 136 CDD (base = 7.6°C) for egg hatch and 153 CDD (base = 9.4°C) for nymphal development, was longer than the period from adult immigration and egg laying in the field to harvest. Samples collected indicated that within 7–10 days after harvest the nymphal population was reduced by ca. 95% when alfalfa was cut to a 2–5 cm stubble height. However, when poor harvest practices or lodged alfalfa allowed alfalfa stubble containing leafy material or uncut stems to remain in the field survival of nymphs was much higher. Also, apparent in poorly harvested fields was an increase in the number of nymphs found on early regrowth alfalfa which is highly susceptible to potato leafhopper damage. Information is still needed that will relate population levels of potato leafhopper nymphs during the post harvest to regrowth period to action thresholds for insecticide application.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1979

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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