Monitoring the Susceptibility of Citrus Rust Mite (Acari: Eriophyidae) Populations to Abamectin

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A citrus leaf disk bioassay was developed to monitor the susceptibility of citrus rust mite, Phyllocoptruta oleivora (Ashmead), populations to abamectin. Disks from leaves of several citrus cultivars were equally suitable bioassay substrates, and there was no difference in mortality when mites were sprayed directly or exposed to dry abamectin residue. The concentration-response relationship was determined at intervals over 2 yr for a reference population of citrus rust mites that had been maintained in culture and never exposed to acaricides. Three diagnostic concentrations of abamectin were selected based on the response of the reference population and were used to test the susceptibility of 15 populations of mites from commercial citrus groves. Comparisons with the reference population showed reduced levels of susceptibility in some populations. Populations of citrus rust mites from 6 commercial groves were sprayed twice in 1997 with combinations of acaricides designed to exert different intensities of selection pressure from abamectin. None of these populations showed a change in their response to abamectin in pre- and postspray bioassays, although their susceptibility was usually less than that of mites from the susceptible reference population. Biweekly counts of rust mites on fruit in these 6 groves suggested that, relative to groves which received no abamectin or 1 abamectin spray, mite control was not adversely affected in the groves sprayed twice with abamectin. The bioassay method is discussed in relation to factors that affect the interpretation of results from its use, and factors that may affect the development of resistance to abamectin in citrus rust mite populations are presented. This study has provided baseline data with which the results of ongoing tests of the response of citrus rust mite populations to abamectin can be compared.

Keywords: Phyllocoptruta oleivora; abamectin; bioassay; mites; pesticide resistance

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1999

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