The relative impacts of early season thrips exclusion (cages) and thrips suppression (pesticides) on tomato spotted wilt (family Bunyaviridae, genus Tospovirus, TSW) Tospovirus infection in flue-cured tobacco, Nicotiana tobaccum L., were examined in field trials in 2001–2004. There were fewer TSW symptomatic plants when plants were covered by exclusion cages for 6 wk than when they were uncaged or caged for 2 or 4 wk after transplanting. Plant height, leaves per plant, and total leaf weight per plant were lower in TSW symptomatic plants compared with nonsymptomatic plants for the uncaged plus 2- and 4-wk caged duration treatments but not different when caged 6 wk. Weekly acephate (Orthene) foliar sprays for 2 or 4 wk after transplanting reduced thrips populations for up to 5 wk after transplanting, whereas the 6-wk sprays had lower thrips populations for up to 8 wk. TSW was lower in both the 4- and 6-wk acephate treatments than in the untreated. A tray drench application of imidacloprid (Admire) reduced thrips populations in early season plus lowered the percentage of TSW compared with no tray drench treatment. The tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca (Hinds), was the predominate thrips species on tobacco foliage, and 1.9–4.9% tested positive for nonstructural TSW protein. The imidacloprid tray drench treatment and 6-wk acephate foliar sprays had lower densities of the tobacco-adapted form of Myzus persicae (Sulzer). Suppressing early season thrips populations with foliar acephate or imidacloprid tray drench are management option that can effectively reduce the incidence of TSW in flue-cured tobacco plus suppress aphids.
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Vol. 99 • No. 3