Investigating Alternatives to Traditional Insecticides: Effectiveness of Entomopathogenic Fungi and Bacillus thuringiensis Against Citrus Thrips and Avocado Thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)

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Citrus thrips, Scirtothrips citri (Moulton) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), is a plant-feeding pest most widely recognized for causing damage to citrus (Citrus spp. L. [Rutaceae]) and mango (Mangifera indica L. [Anacardiaceae]) fruits. This insect has recently broadened its known host range to become a significant pest of California grown blueberries. Avocado thrips, Scirtothrips. perseae Nakahara (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), is a recent, invasive pest of California avocados, Persea americana Mill. (Laurales: Lauraceae). Effective alternatives to traditional pesticides are desirable for both pests to reduce impacts on natural enemies and broaden control options in an effort to minimize pesticide resistance via rotation of control materials. We evaluated Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) subsp. israelensis proteins (Cyt 1A and Cry 11A, activated and inactivated) and multiple strains (GHA, 1741ss, SFBb1, S44ss, NI1ss, and 3769ss) of Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin against both species. Avocado thrips and citrus thrips were not susceptible to either Bt protein tested, regardless of activation status. All strains of B. bassiana were able to infect both avocado thrips and citrus thrips. However, the commercially available GHA strain was the most effective strain against both species and had a faster rate of infection then the other strains tested. Citrus thrips were more susceptible than avocado thrips to all B. bassiana strains (LC50 and LC95 of 8.6 × 104 and 4.8 × 106 conidia per ml for citrus thrips, respectively). Investigation of citrus thrips field control using the GHA strain of B. bassiana is therefore justified.

Keywords: Beauveria bassiana; biological control; pesticide alternative; resistance management

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2013

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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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