Western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), is a major pest of strawberry, causing substantial yield loss through direct feeding on the flowers and fruit. Insecticides are the main method used for its control; however, F. occidentalis has developed resistance to insecticides from all major chemical classes. Chemical control is not a long-term strategy and integrated pest management is required. This study determined whether F. occidentalis damage could be reduced by host plant resistance or tolerance in three commercial strawberry cultivars (Fragaria × ananassa [Rosaceae]: ‘Albion’, ‘Camarosa’, and ‘Camino Real’). Determination of resistance or tolerance to F. occidentalis was based on olfactory response, feeding damage, ovipositional preference, and host suitability for reproduction on leaves. F. occidentalis adults preferred to feed on Camarosa; however, if leaves had been fed on previously by conspecifics, there was no difference in feeding preference. Camarosa was the most preferred cultivar for oviposition, and more eggs were laid by F. occidentalis on Camarosa than either Albion or Camino Real. More larvae hatched and adults were reared from Camarosa than either Albion or Camino Real. The percentage of unhatched eggs, larvae, and pupae that died was highest on Camino Real. Survival rate was highest on Camarosa. Egg incubation, prepupation, pupation, and total developmental periods were shortest on Camarosa, but the larval period was longest on Camarosa. Camarosa was the most favorable cultivar for F. occidentalis population growth on leaves.
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Vol. 103 • No. 5