The efficacy of spinosad against the western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis, and its impact on associated biological control agents on greenhouse cucumbers in southern Ontario
Insecticides are the most commonly used tactic to control western flower thrips (WFT), Frankliniella occidentalis Pergande (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), on greenhouse cucumber. However, WFT has developed resistance to several of the insecticides presently in use. In addition, some of these insecticides adversely affect greenhouse biological control agents used to control WFT, resulting in subsequent pest resurgence. Therefore, there is a need to identify novel insecticides with unique modes of action for use in integrated pest management (IPM) programs to effectively control WFT with minimal impact on associated biological control agents. In laboratory bioassays conducted in 2001, immature and adult WFT and three associated greenhouse biological control agents: Amblyseius cucumeris Oudemans(Acarina: Phytoseiidae), Orius insidiosus Say (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) and Encarsia formosa Gahan(Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) were exposed to direct, direct/residual, and residual contact applications of the novel biopesticide, spinosad (Conserve 120 SC), and the industry standard for whitefly control, endosulfan (Thiodan 50 WP). In all three types of assay, spinosad was effective against immature and adult WFT life stages. It showed low toxicity to A cucumeris, moderate toxicity to O insidiosus and high toxicity to E formosa. Greenhouse studies involving exposure of immature and adult WFT and adult biological control agents to cucumber leaves sprayed previously with spinosad supported the laboratory data. Spinosad showed low toxicity to A cucumeris exposed to leaves 1 day after treatment (DAT),moderate toxicity to O insidiosus 1 and 8 DAT, and high toxicity to E formosa up to 28 DAT. These data, along with spinosad’s unique mode of action, suggest it would be a valuable reduced-risk control agent for greenhouse cucumber IPM programs.