Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) transgenic cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., kills several economically important pests, reducing injury and increasing yields. Refuges of non-Bt cotton are currently planted with Bt cotton in different designs to slow pest resistance evolution. To compare the effects of differences in Bt/non-Bt plant heterogeneity found in different refuge designs on square (flower bud) damage, abscissions, sap-feeding herbivore densities, and yield in cotton, four types of 24-row cotton plots were planted in 2001 and 2002: 1) seed mixtures of Bt and non-Bt varieties, 2) 12-row strips of Bt and non-Bt, 3) solid Bt, and 4) solid non-Bt. For both years cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), damage was less in solid Bt plots than strips and mixtures and all were less than solid non-Bt plots. Cotton fleahopper, Pseudatomoscelis seriatus (Reuter), damage was affected by refuge, but only in 2002 when damage was greater in solid Bt plots than all other plots and greater in strips than solid non-Bt plots. Abscissions were least in solid non-Bt plots, and less in mixtures and strips than solid Bt plots. In 2001, western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), density was greatest in mixtures, whereas sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), was greatest in solid Bt plots, and greater in mixtures than solid non-Bt plots. Yield also was affected by refuge, it was greater for solid Bt plots than for solid non-Bt plots and mixtures in 2001, but the reverse was true in 2002.
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Vol. 100 • No. 4