The aim of this work was to determine the efficiency and feasibility of two different watermelon pest control systems on pest infestations, natural enemies, and on the productivity and sustainability of watermelon cropping. Two independent experiments were carried out during the dry season of 2011. Both experiments were carried out using a randomized block experimental design, with three treatments; weekly application of pesticide (WAP), integrated pest management (IPM), and nonpesticide application (control); and four replicates. Arthropods sampling was performed every 2 d by direct counting at five randomly selected points in each plot. Samples were taken by beating the leaves from the apical portion of the plant against a white plastic tray. Arthropods that moved along the soil surface were sampled weekly using pitfall traps. Both WAP and IPM treatments negatively affected the arthropod population. We conclude that IPM is an attractive strategy for watermelon cropping both economically and environmentally because it provides the grower with an option to lower production cost, achieves the same production, and there is less need for pesticide application when compared with the prophylactic control treatment when pesticides are applied on a weekly basis. This has not been reported for watermelon before.
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Vol. 107 • No. 3