Currently there are several neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments registered for use on soybean (Glycine max L.), with disparity in adoption rates in the eastern United States. A complex of seedling insect pests is found in mid-south soybean, but thrips are the primary early season pest of soybean in Virginia and North Carolina. Published knowledge regarding their impact on soybean yield is minimal, as is the impact of thrips on soybean yield; thrips species composition is also understudied. In 2008 through 2010, nine field experiments in Virginia and North Carolina were conducted to evaluate the impact on thrips population dynamics; the influence on yield of neonicotinoid seed treatments, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, was reported from nine of these experiments. Moreover, thrips species abundance was recorded in three of these experiments. Both imidacloprid and thiamethoxam reduced thrips densities compared with untreated soybean. Thiamethoxam was more effective than imidacloprid in reducing adult thrips densities at 5 wk after planting. Adult densities peaked at 3 wk after planting, followed by larval densities, which peaked at 4 wk after planting. The most abundant thrips species was Frankliniella fusca (Hinds), followed by Neohydatothrips variabilis (Beach). Other common species included F. occidentalis (Pergande) and F. tritici (Fitch). In general, F. fusca was more common earlier in the season, while N. variabilis was more common later in the season. There were no significant differences in yield among any of the treatments or in the untreated controls. Although neonicotinoid insecticides reduced thrips abundance, data collected in these studies demonstrated that there was no positive yield response.
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Vol. 105 • No. 3