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Evaluation of Spunbonded Polyethylene Row Covers as a Method of Excluding Insects and Viruses Affecting Fall-Grown Squash in Florida

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A lightweight floating row cover, used alone and in combination with a white-on-black polyethylene mulch, was evaluated under the hot, humid conditions of the fall growing season in Florida as a method of controlling aphid-borne mosaic viruses, whitefly-induced leaf silvering, and insects directly damaging zucchini squash. Yields increased dramatically with the use of covers, especially if covers were left in place for at least 1wk after plants began to bloom. Covers excluded pickleworm, Diaphania nitidalis (Stoll); melonworm, Diaphania hyalinata (L.); sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), and several colonizing aphid species. Except for B. tabaci, insects colonized newly uncovered plants slowly, remaining at low densities for up to 2 wk after removal of covers. Few winged aphids landed in water pan traps placed over covers, which may explain why aphids and aphid-vectored viruses remained at low levels even when covers were torn. Incidence of potyviruses and silverleaf was greatly reduced by use of row covers, but symptoms of viral infection developed 1-2 wk after removal. If used over an entire planting, high levels of inoculum presumably would not develop, and viral infection might be delayed even longer.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1992

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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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