Effectiveness of microbial and chemical insecticides for supplemental control of bollworm on Bt and non-Bt cottons.
Laboratory and field experiments were conducted to determine the effectiveness of microbial and chemical insecticides for supplemental control of bollworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), on non-Bt (DP1441RF) and Bt (DP1321B2RF) cottons. Neonate and 3rd instar larvae survival was evaluated on leaf tissue treated with microbial and chemical insecticides including a commercial formulation of Bacillus thuringiensis (Dipel), a Heliothis (Helicoverpa) nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV; Gemstar), λ-cyhalothrin (Karate Z), and chlorantraniliprole (Prevathon). Residual activity of insecticides was measured in a small plot field experiment. The performance of microbial insecticides, with the exception of a mid-rate of Dipel with neonate larvae, was comparable with that of chemical treatments on non-Bt cotton leaves with regard to 1st and 3rd instar bollworm mortality at 10 d and pupal eclosion at 20-d post treatment. Production-level field evaluations of supplemental bollworm control in non-Bt and Bt cottons with NPV, λ-cyhalothrin, and chlorantraniliprole were also conducted. During both years of the field study, all chemical and microbial treatments were successful in suppressing bollworm larval densities in non-Bt cotton below economic threshold levels. Overall, net returns above bollworm control, regardless of treatment, were negatively correlated with larval abundance and plant damage. In addition, there was no economic benefit for supplemental control of bollworms in Bt cotton at the larval densities observed during this study. These data provide benchmark comparisons for insect resistance management with microbial and chemical insecticides in Bt and non-Bt cottons and strategic optimization of the need to spray non-Bt and Bt cotton in IRM programs.