In potato production, entomological research is primarily concerned with developing a risk-forecasting model for seed-potato virus, and with controlling wireworms. A project for re-evaluating the intervention threshold for the control of Colorado beetles is also currently underway.Weekly bulletins are also published to allow producers to follow the flight of aphids, which are the vector for the PVY virus. These bulletins can be downloaded from the Agrometeo website: http://www.agrometeo.ch/fr/pucerons-virus-de-la-pomme-de-terre
New approaches to controlling wireworms
Wireworms are soil-dwelling larvae of several beetle species of the genus Agriotes. Their feeding activity on potato tubers can lead to significant local harvest losses. Because of their underground way of life and long life cycle, however, they can only be controlled with difficulty. In a joint research project, Agroscope and HAFL are exploring new solutions for the chemical control of wireworms. Chief among these are various methods for luring pests by means of bait and the management of previous crops or intercrops (‘attract-and-kill’).
Biological control of wireworms with entomopathogenic fungi
Entomopathogenic fungi are the most important natural antagonists of wireworms. Ideally adapted to life in the soil, they have a specific effect against certain insects, and are easy to produce on an industrial scale. Giselher Grabenweger of the ‘Ecology of Harmful and Beneficial Organisms’ Research Group is investigating new production and application methods for these fungi. The aim of the research is to develop a method for the biological control of wireworms in potato production.
Control threshold of the potato beetle
The potato beetle prefers to feed on the young leaves of the potato plant. But how great are the effective losses in tuber yield? At what density does control of the pest make economic sense? Agroscope deals with questions like these in a joint research project with the HAFL.