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1 August 2011 Accuracy, Precision, and Economic Efficiency for Three Methods of Thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) Population Density Assessment
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Western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), is a major horticultural pest and an important vector of plant viruses in many parts of the world. Methods for assessing thrips population density for pest management decision support are often inaccurate or imprecise due to thrips' positive thigmotaxis, small size, and naturally aggregated populations. Two established methods, flower tapping and an alcohol wash, were compared with a novel method, plant desiccation coupled with passive trapping, using accuracy, precision and economic efficiency as comparative variables. Observed accuracy was statistically similar and low (37.8– 53.6%) for all three methods. Flower tapping was the least expensive method, in terms of person-hours, whereas the alcohol wash method was the most expensive. Precision, expressed by relative variation, depended on location within the greenhouse, location on greenhouse benches, and the sampling week, but it was generally highest for the flower tapping and desiccation methods. Economic efficiency, expressed by relative net precision, was highest for the flower tapping method and lowest for the alcohol wash method. Advantages and disadvantages are discussed for all three methods used. If relative density assessment methods such as these can all be assumed to accurately estimate a constant proportion of absolute density, then high precision becomes the methodological goal in terms of measuring insect population density, decision making for pest management, and pesticide efficacy assessments.

© 2011 Entomological Society of America
Andrew M. Sutherland and Michael P. Parrella "Accuracy, Precision, and Economic Efficiency for Three Methods of Thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) Population Density Assessment," Journal of Economic Entomology 104(4), 1323-1328, (1 August 2011).
Received: 12 November 2010; Accepted: 1 May 2011; Published: 1 August 2011

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