Transgenic Bt maize expressing Cry insecticidal δ-endotoxins of Bacillus thuringiensis has been cultivated in South Africa for the control of Busseola fusca since 98. Busseola fusca is resistant to Cry1Ab Bt maize at many localities throughout the maize production region. Pre-release evaluation (94–96) of the inherent susceptibility and post-release assessments (98–2011) of resistance status of B. fusca focused on a limited number of pest populations. This study reports the current levels of susceptibility of 10 B. fusca populations evaluated between 2013 and 2017 and compared this data with previously reported data on the survival of this pest on Bt maize, including data of pre-release evaluations done during 94 and 95. Larval feeding bioassays in which plant tissue of maize events expressing either Cry1Ab or Cry1A.105+Cry2Ab2 (stacked event) proteins were conducted and survival and different life history parameters recorded. Results show a shift in levels of susceptibility of B. fusca to Bt maize. Pre-release evaluation of the single-gene event showed very low larval survival on Bt maize leaf tissue while studies 10 yr later and the current study reported survival of up to 40% and 100% on Cry1Ab maize, respectively. While no larvae completed their life cycle on the stacked event, higher LT50 values in this study indicate a shift in susceptibility of B. fusca to the stacked-gene event and highlight the importance of baseline information and monitoring of pest populations for their susceptibility to Bt maize.
insect resistance management