Three commercial neem-based insecticides, Agroneem, Ecozin, and Neemix, and a neem seed extract formulation, bitters, containing 1,036, 16,506, 471, and 223 μg/ml azadirachtin, respectively, were assessed for feeding and oviposition deterrence against gravid female boll weevils, Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman, in the laboratory. In choice assays, excised cotton squares dipped in the separate formulations were first physically contacted by the weevils’ tarsi or antennae fewer times than nontreated control squares. In choice and no-choice assays, each formulation repelled the weevils for ≥90 min. After 24 h in the choice assays, feeding punctures on the squares treated with Agroneem, Ecozin, or bitters were significantly fewer compared with controls. Egg punctures on the Ecozin- and the bitters-treated squares were significantly fewer than on control squares after 24 h. In the no-choice assay, no significant difference was detected. Aging the formulations under outdoor conditions for 24 h before weevils were exposed resulted in 46–60% and 62–82% reductions in feeding and oviposition punctures, respectively, compared with controls. Agroneem- and bitters-treated squares had >37% fewer feeding punctures after being aged for 48 h. No significant difference was detected after 72 h of aging. Because the deterrence of the gravid female boll weevils was not correlated with amounts of azadirachtin, azadirachtin does not seem to be the only, or the most influential, component of neem that induced the observed deterrence.
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Vol. 97 • No. 2