The whitefly Bemisia argentifolii Bellows & Perring is a major pest of tomatoes, causing an irregular ripening disorder characterized externally by incomplete or inhibited reddening of fruit, especially in longitudinal sections, and internally by an increase in the amount of white tissue. Experiments were undertaken during the spring and fall of 1997 and 1998 and the spring of 1999 to develop an action threshold for applying the insect growth regulators (IGRs) buprofezin and pyriproxyfen to manage B. argentifolii and irregular ripening. The IGRs were applied when predetermined thresholds were reached and were compared with a high rate of the systemic insecticide imidacloprid, which was applied at transplanting and provided season-long whitefly control. Only plots treated when the numbers of sessile nymphs (second through fourth instars) reached five per 10 leaflets consistently had both external and internal irregular ripening severity ratings similar to the imidacloprid standard. Results were similar for buprofezin and pyriproxyfen even though the modes of action differ. The five nymphs per 10 leaflets threshold lends itself to field scouting because nymphal counts completed in the field using the unaided eye supplemented with a 10× hand lens were linearly and significantly related to counts completed in the laboratory with a dissecting microscope.
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Vol. 95 • No. 2