Four studies were conducted in Georgia during spring 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 to evaluate various management tactics for reducing thrips and thrips-vectored tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) in tomato and their interactions relative to fruit yield. Populations of thrips vectors of TSWV, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) and Frankliniella fusca (Hinds), were determined using flower and sticky trap samples. The management practices evaluated were host plant resistance, insecticide treatments, and silver or metallic reflective mulch. Averaged over all tests, the TSWV-resistant tomato ‘BHN444′ on silver mulch treatment had the largest effect in terms of reducing thrips and spotted wilt and increasing marketable yield. Of the insecticide treatments tested, the imidacloprid soil treatment followed by early applications of a thrips-effective foliar insecticide treatment provided significant increase in yield over other treatments. Tomato yield was negatively correlated with the number of F. fusca and percentage of TSWV incidence. F. occidentalis per blossom was positively correlated with percentage of TSWV incidence, but not with yield. No significant interactions were observed between cultivar reflective mulch main plot treatments and insecticide subplot treatments; thus, treatment seemed to be additive in reducing the economic impact of thrips-vectored TSWV. Control tactics that manage thrips early in the growing season significantly increased tomato yield in years when the incidence of TSWV was high (>17%).
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Vol. 97 • No. 5