Bollworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), larvae are commonly observed feeding in genetically engineered Bollgard cotton. Although no information is currently available characterizing the levels of injury bollworms cause, ≈25% of the Bollgard acreage in the United States receives at least one insecticide application annually targeting bollworm populations. Studies were conducted to determine the levels of fruiting form injury that can occur from bollworm larvae feeding on white flowers of two types of genetically engineered cotton. The two types of genetically engineered cotton included the original Bollgard that produces one protein (Cry1Ac) from Bacillus thuringiensis variety kurstaki Berliner and Bollgard II that produces two proteins (Cry1Ac Cry2Ab) from B. thuringiensis kurstaki. In one study, individual larvae (24 ± 6 h old) were placed in first position white flowers of Deltapine 5415 (non-Bollgard) and Deltapine NuCOTN 33B (Bollgard). Larval infestations were made on 50 plants for each of 5 d during 2000 and 2001. Each plant was visually examined at 3 d and every 2 d thereafter, until larvae were no longer recovered. Larvae injured a total of 46.6 fruiting forms per 50 plants on non-Bollgard cotton, compared with only 18.9 fruiting forms per 50 plants on Bollgard cotton. Mean larval injury per insect was 4.3 fruiting forms on non-Bollgard cotton compared with 2.7 fruiting forms on Bollgard cotton. In a second study, individual larvae (24 ± 6 h old) were placed in first position white flowers of Deltapine 50 (non-Bollgard), Deltapine 50B (Bollgard), and an experimental Bollgard II line. Larval infestations were made on 10 plants per day for each of six consecutive days during 2001. Larvae injured a total of 25.0 fruiting forms per 10 plants on non-Bollgard, 11.5 on Bollgard, and 6.4 on Bollgard II cottons. Mean larval injury per insect was 6.6 fruiting forms on non-Bollgard, 3.5 on Bollgard, and 0.8 on Bollgard II cottons. These data indicate that supplemental insecticide applications may be necessary to prevent yield losses on Bollgard cotton. In contrast, injury to Bollgard II cotton was minimal and may not require additional insecticide applications for bollworms.
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Vol. 96 • No. 3