This study evaluates the efficacy of two systemic insecticides (imidacloprid and abamectin) in an operational setting and their suitability to be incorporated into an integrated pest management program. Elm leaf beetle abundance and leaf damage were compared between treated trees and untreated control trees from 1995 through 1999. Laboratory bioassays using first-instar larvae were also used to measure the toxicity of leaves collected from treated trees at varying times after treatment. Trunk injections of abamectin and imidacloprid reduced the defoliation caused by elm leaf beetle when applied after monitoring at the peak density of elm leaf beetle eggs. Treatment in the first generation appeared to provide protection against damage in that generation as well as the second and third beetle generations. Both of these materials become active within the tree canopy very quickly and are therefore compatible with a management program that determines the need for treatment based on monitoring for egg clusters at peak density of eggs. Laboratory bioassays showed no toxicity of leaves in the year following treatment.
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Vol. 96 • No. 5