The influence of tray drench (TD) treatments, with and without foliar applications of the plant activator acibenzolar-S-methyl (Actigard), was examined in replicated field plots in 2000–2002. TD treatments of Actigard, imidacloprid (Admire), and these two products combined had little effect on seasonal mean thrips populations; however, thrips densities were lower in the Admire-treated plots at 4 and 5 wk after transplanting. Actigard and Admire TD treatments significantly reduced the seasonal incidence of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) symptomatic plants in 2 yr in the study. The combination of both products was better in reducing TSWV than Actigard alone. Three early-season foliar sprays of Actigard had no effect on thrips population densities, but they did reduce TSWV incidence. The tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca (Hinds), comprised 92–95% of the thrips complex each year. Other thrips collected on tobacco foliage at very low densities included Haplothrips spp., Chirothrips spp., Limothrips cerealium (Haliday), other Frankliniella spp. and other unidentified species. Using nonstructural TSWV protein enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, 1.5–2.3% of the F. fusca tested positive for nonstructural TSWV protein. Cured yields were higher in the TD treatments and the Actigard foliar treatments in the years with high TSWV in the untreated plots. The TD treatments and foliar Actigard had little impact on plant height or grade index; however, TD treatments with Admire had low tobacco aphid, Myzus nicotianae Blackman, populations through 10 wk after transplanting. The early-season Actigard and Admire treatment options are management decisions that can effectively reduce the risks of TSWV incidence in flue-cured tobacco.
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