Date of this Version
Field studies were conducted from 1997 to 1999 to contrast the effects of two insect growth regulators (IGRs) and conventional insecticides on natural enemy conservation in cotton within the context of alternative management strategies for Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius). Compared with an untreated control, insecticide regimes based on the initial use of the IGR buprofezin or pyriproxyfen reduced densities of eight predator taxa out of 20 examined in at least one year, including common species such as Geocoris punctipes (Say), Nabis alternatus Parshley, Chrysoperla carnea s.l., and the empidid fly Drapetis nr. divergens. Patterns of predator and pest population change relative to IGR application dates suggest that factors other than direct toxic effects, such as reduction in prey availability, were likely involved. In comparison, the use of conventional insecticides reduced populations of nearly all the predatory taxa examined in most years, including those affected by IGRs, with the impact being greater and more immediate in all cases. Predator:prey ratios were significantly increased by the use of IGRs compared with both the untreated control and a conventional insecticide regime in most instances. The application of conventional insecticides for suppression of Lygus hesperus Knight, another key pest in the system, in a split-plot design reduced densities of most predator taxa and diminished the selective advantage of the IGRs. Rates of parasitism by aphelinid parasitoids (Eretmocerus eremicus Rose and Zolnerowich and Encarsia spp.) were generally low and did not vary consistently due to B. tabaci or L. hesperus insecticide regimes over the three years. Our 3-year study demonstrates the more selective action of buprofezin and pyriproxyfen in an effective integrated control system for B. tabaci. The use of these IGRs could further facilitate biologically based management in cotton production systems.