Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Regional Assessment of Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Populations on Cotton and Non-Cotton Crop Hosts

item Jackson, Ryan
item Bradley, Julius
item Van Duyn, John
item Leonard, B.
item Allen, Clint
item Luttrell, Randy
item Adamczyk, John
item Gore, Jeffrey
item Hardee, Dicky
item Voth, Rich
item Sivasupramaniam, Saku
item Mullins, Walt
item Head, Graham

Submitted to: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/29/2007
Publication Date: 1/3/2008
Citation: Jackson, R.E., Bradley, J., Van Duyn, J., Leonard, B.R., Allen, C., Luttrell, R., Adamczyk Jr, J.J., Gore, J., Hardee, D.D., Voth, R., Sivasupramaniam, S., Mullins, W., Head, G. 2008. Regional Assessment of Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Populations on Cotton and Non-Cotton Crop Hosts. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 126:89-106

Interpretive Summary: Since the 1996 introduction of Bt insecticidal cottons, cotton producers have been required to plant a portion of their cotton acreage to non-Bt cotton. The purpose of this refuge was to produce non-selected insects that would mate with resistant individuals that may develop in Bt cotton, thus diluting Bt resistance genes in the general insect population. Refuge requirements have been set at either 5 or 20 percent plantings of non-Bt cotton to the overall acreage of a given farm, depending on how whether or not the refuge was managed for caterpillar pests. Information from this study demonstrated that structured non-Bt cotton refuges had minimal impact on Bt resistance management in bollworm because of its preference for non-cotton crop hosts. Because of this information and that from studies with tobacco budworm host use, the structured non-Bt cotton refuge requirement has been eliminated for Bollgrd II (Bt) cottons. This decision will increase the sustainability of cotton production and will make cotton production more profitable for farmers.

Technical Abstract: Selection pressure on bollworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), by cotton, Gossypium hirsutum (L.) (Malvaceae), that produces one or more Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Berliner proteins is reduced by plantings of non-Bt refuge cotton that produce non-selected individuals. However, the contributions of non-Bt, non-cotton crop hosts to the overall effective refuge for H. zea on Bt cotton have not been estimated. A two-year, season-long study was conducted in five US cotton-producing states to assess the spatial and temporal population dynamics and host use of H. zea. Helicoverpa zea larval estimates in commercial crop fields demonstrated that non-cotton crop hosts such as maize, Zea mays L. (Poaceae), grain sorghum, Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench (Poaceae), peanut, Arachis hypogaea L. (Fabaceae), and soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merrill (Fabaceae), collectively support much larger larval populations than cotton throughout the season. Larval populations were almost entirely restricted to maize in the middle part of the season (June and portions of July), and were observed in non-cotton crop hosts more frequently and typically in larger numbers than in cotton during the period when production would be expected in cotton (July and August). Numbers of H. zea larvae produced in replicated strip trials containing various crop hosts paralleled production estimates from commercial fields. In contrast, the number of H. zea adults captured in pheromone traps at interfaces of fields of Bt cotton and various crop hosts rarely varied among interfaces, except in instances where maize was highly attractive. With the exception of this early season influence of maize, moth numbers were not related to local larval production. These data demonstrate that H. zea adults move extensively from their natal host origins. Therefore, non-cotton crop hosts, and even relatively distant hosts, contribute significantly to effective refuge for H. zea on Bt cotton. The results presented here demonstrate that substantial natural refuge is present for Bt resistance management of H. zea throughout the mid-South and southeast portions of the US cotton belt.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page