Newer, selective insecticides with few negative impacts on natural enemies and competitor species are needed for effective, sustainable management of the western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impacts on natural enemies and competitor thrips species of insecticides used for control of western flower thrips in fruiting vegetables. Trials with tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) and with pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) were conducted to evaluate insecticide treatment effects on western flower thrips and natural enemies at the North Florida in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. A number of insecticides from different classes showed moderate to high efficacy against western flower thrips. The broad-spectrum insecticides acetamiprid, methomyl, and tolfenpyrad demonstrated activity against the pest, while also reducing populations of the key predator of thrips in pepper, Orius insidiosus (Say) (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae). Insecticides that showed little impact on populations of O. insidiosus were cyantraniliprole, flonicamid, spirotetramat, and terpenes. Although only moderately active against the western flower thrips, they would be valuable additions to existing management programs for pepper. Insecticides with activity against western flower thrips also showed activity against Frankliniella tritici (Fitch). This non-damaging congener species is a beneficial because it out-competes the western flower thrips, especially in tomato where O. insidiosus is not a major factor in western flower thrips management. Numerous insecticides were identified with activity against the western flower thrips that are suitable for use in integrated pest management programs of fruiting vegetables.
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Vol. 97 • No. 2