Since 2004–2005 cotton expressing Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab insecticidal proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis has been commercially available in Australia to manage the target pests Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) and Helicoverpa punctigera (Wallengren). In both target species, the frequency of alleles conferring resistance to Cry2Ab is unexpectedly high in field populations. A significant challenge for managing these pests would occur if resistance to Cry2Ab toxins inadvertently selected for resistance to other insecticides used to control them. Dose-response bioassays were performed to measure the toxicity of currently registered insecticide sprays on isogenic strains of Cry2Ab-resistant and Cry2Ab-susceptible H. armigera and H. punctigera. Within-species comparisons of Cry2Ab-resistant and Cry2Ab-susceptible strains of H. armigera and H. punctigera indicate no cross-resistance with pyrethroid insecticides. Additionally, Cry2Ab-resistant strains were not cross-resistant to the following selective insecticides: indoxacarb, chlorantraniliprole, and avermectins. In both H. armigera and H. punctigera, Cry2Ab-resistant colonies exhibited a small, but significant, degree of enhanced susceptibility in response to chlorpyrifos and methomyl. We report higher tolerance to conventional insecticides in H. armigera compared with H. punctigera. Our results indicate that there is no significant interplay between Cry2Ab resistance frequencies in H. armigera and H. punctigera and frequencies of resistance to a range of insecticide sprays currently registered for cotton. Therefore, we conclude that any increases in frequencies of the common Cry2Ab resistance phenotypes identified in Australian populations of Helicoverpa spp. are unlikely to increase resistance risk for the indoxacarb, chlorantraniliprole, or avermectin classes of insecticide.
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Vol. 107 • No. 5