Onion thrips, Thrips tabaci Lindeman (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), feeding injury results in discoloration and a rough texture on cabbage, Brassica oleracea capitata (L.), leaves, and damage may occur deep inside the head. It has become a key pest of cabbage in the United States and many other countries. Previous studies have indicated poor control using insecticides. The present study identified imidacloprid drenches and sprays of acetamiprid, dimethoate, spinosad, and imidacloprid as insecticides that performed better than the industry standard, lambda-cyhalothrin. However, additional tests with foliar sprays of dimethoate and acetamiprid indicated there was not an ideal crop stage (precupping, cupping, or postcupping) at which either insecticide could be applied for reliable control of T. tabaci, possibly because of multiple flights of thrips into the crop or the asynchrony of flights and susceptible crop stages. In tests in a commercial field, a soil drench of imidacloprid 4 wk after transplanting reduced the number of damaged leaves in the head by 32%, whereas five sprays of acetamiprid reduced damage by 51%. Combining both insecticide regimes reduced damage by 85%, but resulted in a very costly management program. Cabbage varieties varied considerably in susceptibility with some having negligible thrips injury, regardless of being treated with an insecticide. Planting date affected susceptibility of cabbage to some degree, but not as much as other tactics. Overall, these studies indicate that increased emphasis should be placed on breeding cabbages to be resistant to T. tabaci as the foundation for its management.
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Vol. 101 • No. 2