Host Plant Resistance

One IPM strategy is to grow crop varieties that are resistant to pest damage. Crop varieties that are resistant to pest damage are said to have host plant resistance.

Host plant resistance can be broken down into three categories: non-preference, antibiosis, and tolerance.

Non-preference (anti-xenosis)

Host plants that express non-preference affect the way an insect pest perceives the desirability of the host plant. Non-preference plants either provide stimuli that are unattractive to the pest (color, odor, texture such as downy hairs) or fail to provide stimuli that are attractive to the pest. In this way, non-preference plants affect the behavior of pests.


Antibiosis is a type of resistance in which the host plant causes injury, death, reduced longevity, or reduced reproduction of the pest. Often both a resistant and susceptible variety will have the same basic response to a pest, but the resistant variety will respond more quickly or more dramatically than the susceptible variety, reducing the amount of damage the pest causes. Plants that express antibiosis affect the biology of pests.


Host plants that express tolerance are resistant to pest damage because they can remain healthy and yield well despite the damage. These plants must also be able to heal wounds and fight diseases that enter through wounds.

The effectiveness of host plant resistance can vary by location because insect pests of the same species can vary somewhat by location. For instance, a Colorado potato beetle in Colorado is slightly different than a Colorado potato beetle in Wisconsin.


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