The bollworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), is a key pest of cotton in Texas. Bollworm populations are widely controlled with pyrethroid insecticides in cotton and exposed to pyrethroids in other major crops such as grain sorghum, corn, and soybeans. A statewide program that evaluated cypermethrin resistance in male bollworm populations using an adult vial test was conducted from 2003 to 2006 in the major cotton production regions of Texas. Estimated parameters from the most susceptible field population currently available (Burleson County, September 2005) were used to calculate resistance ratios and their statistical significance. Populations from several counties had statistically significant (P ≤ 0.05) resistance ratios for the LC50, indicating that bollworm-resistant populations are widespread in Texas. The highest resistance ratios for the LC50 were observed for populations in Burleson County in 2000 and 2003, Nueces County in 2004, and Williamson and Uvalde Counties in 2005. These findings explain the observed pyrethroid control failures in various counties in Texas. Based on the assumption that resistance is caused by a single gene, the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium formula was used for estimation of frequencies for the putative resistant allele (q) using 3 and 10 μg/vial as discriminatory dosages for susceptible and heterozygote resistant insects, respectively. The influence of migration on local levels of resistance was estimated by analysis of wind trajectories, which partially clarifies the rapid evolution of resistance to cypermethrin in bollworm populations. This approach could be used in evaluating resistance evolution in other migratory pests.
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