HERMISTON, Ore.—The insect that vectors zebra chip can survive the Northwest's harsh winters on a weed plentiful in the Columbia Basin and Idaho, according to a Northwest scientist.
Andy Jensen, who works for the Oregon, Washington and Idaho potato commissions, said at the Hermiston Farm Fair Nov. 28, he found abundant populations of potato psyllids in winter months on bittersweet nightshade, a weed common in the Northwest.
And, he said, cold winters don't appear to eliminate populations of the pest.
"It's not like the cold, frosty weather is going to kill the insects," he said. "That is definitely not the case."
Jensen said he found potato psyllids on defoliated bittersweet nightshade throughout the winter months. And, he said, the weed is prevalent throughout the Northwest.
"Once you start looking for (bittersweet nightshade), you'll see it everywhere you go," he said. "It is very abundant."
SOURCE: Mitch Lies, Capital Press