Populations of onion thrips, Thrips tabaci Lindeman, from commercial onion fields in New York were evaluated for their susceptibility to the commonly used pyrethroid, λ-cyhalothrin (Warrior T), using a novel system called the Thrips Insecticide Bioassay System (TIBS). To use TIBS, thrips are collected directly from the plant into an insecticide-treated 0.5-ml microcentrifuge tube that has a flexible plastic cap with a small well into which 0.08 ml of a 10% sugar-water solution with food colorant is deposited. The solution is sealed into the well with a small piece of stretched parafilm through which the thrips can feed on the solution. Thrips mortality is assessed after 24 h with the help of a dissecting stereoscope. In 2001, onion thrips populations were collected from 16 different sites and resistance ratios were >1,000 in five populations. Percent mortality at 100 ppm, a recommended field rate, varied from 9 to 100%, indicating high levels of variation in susceptibility. Particular instances of resistance appeared to be the result of practices within an individual field rather than a regional phenomenon. In 2002, we also observed large differences in onion thrips susceptibility, not only between individual fields but also between thrips collected in a single field at mid season and late season, again suggesting that insecticide-use practices within an individual field caused differences in susceptibility. Additional tests indicated no differences in susceptibility between adult and larval onion thrips populations and only relatively minor differences between populations collected from different parts of the same field. Using TIBS, several populations of onion thrips with different susceptibilities to λ-cyhalothrin were identified and then subjected to λ-cyhalothrin-treated onion plants. There was a highly significant positive relationship between percent mortality of thrips from TIBS and percent mortality from the treated onion plants, indicating that results from TIBS could be used to predict spray performance. These data suggest that use of TIBS for evaluating susceptibility to particular insecticides could be instrumental for developing a resistance management strategy for onion thrips.
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Vol. 96 • No. 6