Predicting Spring Moth Emergence in the Pink Bollworm (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae): Implications for Managing Resistance to Transgenic Cotton

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Cultural control methods have been central in the southwestern United States for reducing pink bollworm, Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders), damage to cotton. Nevertheless, it is not clear at present how such methods could be integrated within the novel pest management framework allowed by introduction of cotton producing a toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) for pink bollworm control. Using statewide pheromone trapping and climatic data in conjunction with deterministic simulation models, we investigated whether manipulation of cotton planting date and use of other cultural control methods could represent valuable tactics for control of the pink bollworm in Arizona. Accumulation of heat units from one January accurately predicted the rate of pink bollworm emergence from diapause in 15 cotton-producing regions. Significant variation in rate of emergence from diapause was present among regions, with earlier emergence at higher altitudes. Most adults emerge from diapause too early to reproduce successfully on cotton, a phenomenon known as suicidal emergence. A method for prediction of the fraction of suicidal emergence resulting from adoption of a given cotton planting date is presented. Results from simulation models suggest that manipulation of planting date and implementation of other control cultural methods reduce the rate of application of insecticides and delay the evolution of resistance to Bt cotton in the pink bollworm.
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