How to start with a clean crop: Biopesticide dips reduce populations of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) on greenhouse poinsettia propagative cuttings

Insects, 2016, 7(4), 48.
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Abstract: Buitenhuis R., M. Brownbridge, A. Brommit, T. Saito and G. Murphy. (1) Global movement of propagative plant material is a major pathway for introduction of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) into poinsettia greenhouses. Starting a poinsettia crop with high pest numbers disrupts otherwise successful biological control programs and widespread resistance of B. tabaci against pesticides is limiting growers’ options to control this pest; (2) This study investigated the use of several biopesticides (mineral oil, insecticidal soap, Beauveria bassiana, Isaria fumosorosea, Steinernema feltiae) and combinations of these products as immersion treatments (cutting dips) to control B. tabaci on poinsettia cuttings. In addition, phytotoxicity risks of these treatments on poinsettia cuttings, and effects of treatment residues on mortality of commercial whitefly parasitoids (Eretmocerus eremicus and Encarsia formosa) were determined; (3) Mineral oil (0.1% v/v) and insecticidal soap (0.5%) + B. bassiana (1.25 g/L) were the most effective treatments; only 31% and 29%, respectively, of the treated B. tabaci survived on infested poinsettia cuttings and B. tabaci populations were lowest in these treatments after eight weeks. Phytotoxicity risks of these treatments were acceptable, and dip residues had little effect on survival of either parasitoid, and are considered highly compatible; (4) Use of poinsettia cutting dips will allow growers to knock-down B. tabaci populations to a point where they can be managed successfully thereafter with existing biocontrol strategies.

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