In the pipeline: Colorado potato beetle

The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) accounts for more than $500 million in crop loss worldwide annually. The beetle, which decimates plants in the nightshade family, easily develops resistance to pesticides. Multiple modes of action are needed to successfully control CPB infestations, especially in areas with multiple generations.

GreenLight’s technology is easy to use, and it can help. Our application is mixed with water and sprayed using standard agricultural practice over crops, at less than one-tenth the rate at which many conventional industrial chemicals are normally used on fields.

Beetles can devastate potato crops that are left untreated

We have conducted more than 100 field trials over four years to develop a solution that is effective at just 9.9 g/hectare, equivalent to a spoonful of sugar spread on a football field. Consumption of the dsRNA causes the Colorado potato beetle to stop eating and expire from its own toxins.

The application has been designed to be highly specific to affect the target pest. Our testing has shown that our Colorado potato beetle product is safe for honeybees, butterflies, and several other nontarget insects and mammals at use rates 100 times higher than our recommended rate. It degrades in water and soil within three days to benign, natural nucleotides.

The product is designed to work well with standard growers’ programs to control first- or second-generation Colorado potato beetles. It controls all stages of the life of this beetle but is most effective on young larvae up to one-quarter inch in length.

We aim to launch our product to tackle the $350 million market for protecting crops from the beetle. We expect EPA approval in 2022 and full commercialization in 2023.