Persistence of Insecticides on Tomato Foliage and Implications for Control of Tomato Fruitworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

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Insecticides used to control Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) on tomatoes are directed at eggs and small larvae before larvae feed on fruit. Experiments were conducted to determine the persistence of insecticides on tomato foliage and the rate of tomato plant growth, which together were used to interpret field efficacy studies of insecticides for control of H. zea in western North Carolina. The pyrethroid esfenvalerate exhibited the longest persistence of all insecticides studied; the half-life of esfenvalerate on foliage was estimated to be >10 d, whereas those of carbaryl, methomyl, and endosulfan varied from <2 to <8 d. Exposure of H. zea neonate larvae to field-treated esfenvalerate leaves resulted in >65% mortality 14 d after the first application and 91.5% mortality 14 d after the third successive application. Carbaryl and endosulfan resulted in high levelsof larval mortality for 4-8 d after application, but methomyl and Bacillus thuringiensis were toxic for very short periods «48 h) after application. Plant growth rates were highest from y2 wk after transplanting until shortly before harvest, indicating that residue loss due to plant growth dilution effects are greatest before harvest begins. Higher levels of H. zea-damaged fruit and potato aphid populations, Macrosiphum euphormae (Thomas), occurred when insecticide application intervals were increased from 5 to 10 to 14 d. However, the magnitude of damaged fruit increase was greater with increasing application intervals in 1989 than in 1988. These differences were attributed to more frequent rainfall in 1989.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1991

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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