IPM and Biological Control of Meloidogyne chitwoodi and the Colorado Potato Beetle

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2006: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Grant Recipient: Washington State University
Region: Western
State: Washington
Graduate Student:
Principal Investigator:
Ekaterini Riga
Washington State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: potatoes
  • Vegetables: tomatoes


  • Crop Production: application rate management, biological inoculants, cover crops, intercropping
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, networking
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, budgets/cost and returns
  • Pest Management: allelopathy, biological control, competition, cultural control, integrated pest management, trap crops, traps
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter

    Proposal abstract:

    Meloidogyne chitwoodi, a root knot nematode, and the Colorado potato beetle (CPB) cause severe damage to potato crops. Potato crops are a major component of Washington agriculture -- in 2005 the crop value was estimated at 459.7 million (USDA-NASS). M. chitwoodi infected fields are rejected if only 5-15% potatoes are culled. CPB is heavily sprayed with 6-8 foliar pesticide applications in a four-month season. Conventional control has relied upon toxic pesticide and fumigants, both of which raise human and environmental health concerns. Additionally, most fumigants are on the list to be banned to satisfy the requirements of the Food Quality Protection Act. This project proposes an integrated pest management approach using mustard amendments in conjunction with entomopathogenic nematodes as biocontrol agents to target both M. chitwoodi and CPB. M. chitwoodi and CPB have vastly different lifecycles, but CPB larvae and M. chitwoodi occupy the same physical space in the soil. Entomopathogenic (EPN) nematodes also inhabit this space in the soil, making them ideal biocontrol agents of the potato pests/parasites. EPN infect and kill larval stage insects and have also been shown to reduce root knot nematode populations. Mustard or mustard meal can be rotated between potato seasons or the meal can be incorporated before planting -- the mustard is tilled under and the chemicals released have proven nematicidal properties. However, the effect of these chemicals on EPN is uncertain. Mustard amendment combined with EPN will be investigated for control of M. chitwoodi and CPB.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Experimental and Educational Objectives
    1. Experimental: 1)Determine if entomopathogenic nematodes are effective biological control agents of both CPB and M. chitwoodi. 2)Determine if mustard amendments (Brassica juncea) are effective in controlling CPB and M. chitwoodi. 3)Determine if mustard amendments (Brassica juncea) interact with the use of entomopathogenic nematodes in control of M. chitwoodi and CPB. Educational: 1)Increase farmer knowledge of alternative CPB/M. chitwoodi control measures using field demonstrations of proper EPN and mustard application. 2)Increase farmer knowledge of alternative CPB/M. chitwoodi control measures using pamphlets/website outreach. 3)Increase farmer knowledge of alternative CPB/M. chitwoodi control measures by hosting a field day.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.