Impact and Management of Western Flower Thrips on Romaine Lettuce
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AbstractA season-long study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of several conventional, experimental and bio-based insecticide combinations used in rotation against western flower thrips (WFT) in romaine lettuce. Results from this study showed that several insecticide rotational programs provided good control of WFT populations throughout the season. Adult abundance peaked just prior to the fourth spray on 28 March, whereas larvae numbers peaked about 2 weeks earlier on March 13. Fluctuations of larval and adult populations observed from weekly samples suggests that greater than 3 WFT generations developed during the experimental period. Averaged across all sample dates, the Success, Lannate and Warrior based rotations maintained adult and larval populations at significantly lower levels than all other treatments. The Bio-based, organic rotations (Neem/Garlic/COC/Sulfur/Diatect) did not differ from the untreated check. Percentage reduction of WFT larvae and adults compared with the untreated control was significantly greater following sprays which contained Success combinations. Consistent with reduction in WFT numbers, the Success/Lannate/Warrior, and Dimethoate based rotations resulted in significantly greater yields and less damage. Regression analysis suggests that larvae and total thrips abundance more consistently describes the variation measured in plant weights. Overall, this preliminary data further indicates that maintaining WFT abundance at low levels is important for maintaining romaine yield and quality.