Western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), is one of the most destructive insect pests of greenhouse production systems with the ability to develop resistance to a wide variety of insecticides. A common resistance management strategy is rotating insecticides with different modes of action. By incorporating entomopathogenic organisms (fungi and bacteria), which have discrete modes of action compared to standard insecticides, greenhouse producers may preserve the effectiveness of insecticides used for suppression of western flower thrips populations. The objective of this study was to determine how different rotation programs that include entomopathogenic organisms (Beauveria bassiana, Isaria fumosoroseus, Metarhizium anisopliae, and Chromobacterium subtsugae) and commonly used standard insecticides (spinosad, chlorfenapyr, abamectin, and pyridalyl) may impact the population dynamics of western flower thrips adult populations by means of suppression. Eight-week rotation programs were applied to chrysanthemum, Dendranthema x morifolium plants and weekly counts of western flower thrips adults captured on yellow sticky cards were recorded as a means to evaluate the impact of the rotation programs. A final quality assessment of damage caused by western flower thrips feeding on foliage and flowers was also recorded. Furthermore, a cost comparison of each rotation program was conducted. Overall, insecticide rotation programs that incorporated entomopathogenic organisms were not significantly different than the standard insecticide rotation programs without entomopathogenic organisms in suppressing western flower thrips adult populations. However, there were no significant differences among any of the rotation programs compared to the water control. Moreover, there was no differential effect of the rotation programs on foliage and flower quality. Cost savings of up to 34% (in US dollars) are possible when including entomopathogenic organisms in the rotation program. Therefore, by incorporating entomopathogenic organisms into insecticide rotation programs, greenhouse producers can decrease costs without affecting suppression, as well as diminish selection pressure on western flower thrips adult populations, which may avoid or delay resistance development.
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Vol. 108 • No. 4