Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Byron, Georgia » Fruit and Tree Nut Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #394426

Research Project: Novel Approaches for Managing Key Pests of Peach and Pecan

Location: Fruit and Tree Nut Research

Title: Efficacy of entomopathogenic fungi, nematodes and spinetoram combinations for integrated management of Thrips tabaci: a two-year onion field study

item WAKIL, WAQAS - University Of Faisalabad
item GULZAR, SEHRISH - University Of Faisalabad
item PRAGER, SEAN - University Of Saskatchewan
item Shapiro Ilan, David

Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/13/2023
Publication Date: 8/1/2023
Citation: Wakil, W., Gulzar, S., Prager, S., Shapiro Ilan, D.I. 2023. Efficacy of entomopathogenic fungi, nematodes and spinetoram combinations for integrated management of Thrips tabaci: a two-year onion field study. Pest Management Science. Vol 79:3227-3238.

Interpretive Summary: Onion thrips are important insect pests of onions and other crops in the same family (chives, garlic, shallots, etc). For pest control, currently, the thrips are targeted with various chemical insecticides. However, the chemical insecticides provide only moderate efficacy and also can have a negative impact on nontarget organisms and the environment. Therefore, other more effective and environmentally friendly methods of control are needed. Potential options include beneficial insect-killing fungi and beneficial nematodes, which are safe to humans and the environment. Another environmentally friendly option is the bacteria-based biopesticide, spinetoram. We investigated beneficial fungi, nematodes and spinetoram applied alone or in combination for control of onion thrips. The combination treatments were more effective than single-applied treatments. The most potent treatment in killing onion thrips was the combination of beneficial fungus (called Beauveria bassiana) and spinetoram. Our results indicate promise for environmentally sustainable control of onion thrips.

Technical Abstract: Two consecutive field trials using a blend of entomopathogens in combination with a new chemistry insecticide were conducted to determine treatment effects on onion thrips (Thrips tabaci Lindeman) populations, crop damage, plant development, crop yield and impact on natural enemies. Products were tested in an onion cropping system and included the insect pathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (isolate WG-11), an entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (strain VS) and the new-chemistry chemical insecticide spinetoram. In all treatments, a significant decrease in thrips population was detected. Overall, dual application of entomopathogens and insecticide was more effective than singly applied treatments. The lowest number of thrips were recorded when treated with dual application of B. bassiana and spinetoram. Among all the treatments, B. bassiana + spinetoram produced maximum leaf length, leaf weight, total leaves, neck diameter, bulb diameter, number of rings per bulb, bulb weight, dry matter and plant yield following the 2017and 2018 applications, respectively. The findings of study reveal the potential of using insect pathogens and insecticide for control of T. tabaci while biological control agents help in protecting biodiversity in onion agroecosystem.