Nephaspis oculata (Blatchley, 1917) is a whitefly predator which has been reported feeding on several whitefly species. In South Florida, it attacks rugose spiraling whitefly, an invasive pest of urban trees which was first reported in the United States in 2009. The management of rugose spiraling whitefly relies heavily on the use of insecticides which may negatively impact biological control agents. We studied the effect of bifenthrin (spray) and imidacloprid (drench) application on survival, fecundity, and behavior of N. oculata in the laboratory. Adult beetles survived significantly longer in control and systemic imidacloprid compared to bifenthrin treatment, but there was no significant difference between control and systemic imidacloprid applications. However, the fecundity of beetles in the imidacloprid treatment was significantly lower than the control. There was no significant difference between the survival of beetles in bifenthrin and control treatments 3 mo post application. Beetles avoided bifenthrin-treated leaves but did not avoid systemic imidacloprid-treated in a no-choice test. Also, beetles' feeding rate on bifenthrintreated rugose spiraling whitefly nymphs was significantly lower in a no-choice test. In the choice test, there was a significant difference in feeding rates on whiteflies between choices of bifenthrin/control but no significant difference in the control/control or in imidacloprid/control treatments. The results from this study shows that while systemic imidacloprid has sublethal effects on N. oculata, it does not significantly affect mortality of adult beetles in the tri-trophic system tested. Therefore, using systemic imidacloprid and N. oculata for controlling rugose spiraling whitefly might be compatible or at least not significantly incompatible.
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Vol. 112 • No. 2