Two isolates of Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin, including the commercial strain GHA and the Mississippi Delta native NI8 strain, and two emulsifiers, Tween-80 and a starch-based sprayable bioplastic, were evaluated in the laboratory and field for pathogenicity and infectivity against the tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois) (Heteroptera: Miridae).The effect on fruit damage based on within-season cotton plant mapping was also examined.The highest mortality 10 d after treatment was found with insects caged on cotton terminals sprayed with NI8 +Tween-80, followed by those exposed to NI8 + bioplastic. Similarly, sporulation was shown to be higher in NI8 + Tween-80 than in other treatments. Plots sprayed with B. bassiana showed at least a twofold decrease in tarnished plant bug adults 3 d after treatment compared with control plots. Little to no variation was observed in tarnished plant bug nymph populations between treated and untreated plots. Within-season plant mapping provided clear evidence of damage to cotton caused by tarnished plant bug. The highest percentage retention of all first position fruiting structures was observed in plots treated with NI8 + Tween-80 (93.41 ± 1.51) followed by NI8 + bioplastic (90.25 ± 1.52). Both treatments were significantly different when compared with GHA +Tween-80 (82.89 ± 2.26) and GHA + bioplastic (70.48 ± 3.19), and both GHA formulations did not differ from the control (63.61 ± 2.96). Overall, these results indicated that B. bassiana application resulted in >50% mortality of tarnished plant bug regardless of the isolates by direct spray or by contact. However, the superior performance of the Mississippi Delta native NI8 strain was observed in all treatment applications and evaluation times.
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Vol. 112 • No. 2