Efficacy of Reduced-Risk Insecticides to Control Flower Thrips in Early-Season Blueberries and Their Effect on Orius insidiosus, A Natural Enemy of Flower Thrips

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Flower thrips are one of the key pests in production of southern highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L. × V. darrowi Camp). They feed on the reproductive parts of the flower and reduce yield. Very few insecticides are available to manage thrips population. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate pre-existing and experimental insecticides for their efficacy against thrips. There is also a high demand for reduced-risk insecticides that are less toxic to beneficial insects and the environment. In this study, a number of conventional and reduced-risk insecticides were evaluated against flower thrips on farms in Florida and Georgia and in the laboratory. The best performing insecticides were also evaluated in the laboratory for their effects on Orius insidiosus Say, which is a common thrips’ predator in Florida. Assail 70WP (Acetamiprid) and SpinTor 2SC (Spinosad) were the most promising insecticides in reducing thrips numbers in the field as well as in laboratory experiments. SpinTor 2SC killed all of the thrips in laboratory arenas within 4 hours of application and showed low toxicity toward O. insidiosus. All of the compounds tested performed as well as the conventional pesticide malathion.

Oscar E. Liburd
Hector Alejandro Arevalo
Elena M. Rhodes
Agricultural Sciences