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Title: Incidence of Heliothis virescens on Garbanzo Varieties in Northwestern Mississippi

item Blanco, Carlos
item Lopez, Juan De Dios
item Abel, Craig

Submitted to: Southwestern Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/14/2009
Publication Date: 1/14/2009
Citation: Blanco, C.A., Teran-Vargas, A.P., Lopez, J., Abel, C.A. 2009. Incidence of Heliothis virescens on Garbanzo Varieties in Northwestern Mississippi. Southwestern Entomologist.34:61-67

Interpretive Summary: One of the biggest problems that the B. thuringiensis monitoring program of the USDA-ARS in Stoneville Mississippi had in the past, was the inadequate number of tobacco budworm samples that were obtained from cooperators in different states. Therefore the screen of several varieties of garbanzo, one of the greatest hosts of this insect, became a necessity. A two-year study identified a commercial variety, developed by an ARS scientist in Washington State, as the most suitable cultivar to establish plots with and obtain sufficient numbers of tobacco budworms. This variety has been adopted in Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Mississippi and consistently has ‘yielded’ hundreds of H. virescens to be tested for their susceptibility to Bt cotton-expressing proteins.

Technical Abstract: The tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens F.) has been for many years one of the most important insect pest of cotton and other crops. In recent years it has been successfully controlled with Bacillus thuringiensis-expressing cottons, but there is the possibility that this pest might acquire resistance to this bacterium insecticide. To find out if the tobacco budworm is still B. thuringiensis susceptible and determine its levels of resistance, a large sample size should be screened, but obtaining large quantities of this pest has proven difficult in recent years. With the goal of evaluating the presence of tobacco budworm larvae on several varieties of garbanzo (Cicer arietinum L.), one of the most preferred plant hosts of this pest, we identified Sierra, C-104 and Annigeri varieties that can harbor up to eight tobacco budworm larvae per row-meter and they can also withstand the biotic and abiotic conditions of northwestern Mississippi. Experimental plots of the above mentioned garbanzo varieties can produce >10 late instar larvae per square meter, an H. virescens density far superior than other plant hosts of the region.