Open Access
How to translate text using browser tools
31 August 2019 Bifenthrin Baseline Susceptibility and Evaluation of Simulated Aerial Applications in Striacosta albicosta (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
Débora G. Montezano, Thomas E. Hunt, Dariane Souza, Bruno C. Vieira, Ana M. Vélez, Greg R. Kruger, Sarah N. Zukoff, Jeffrey D. Bradshaw, Julie A. Peterson
Author Affiliations +

Striacosta albicosta (Smith) is a maize pest that has recently expanded its geographical range into the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. Aerial application of pyrethroids, such as bifenthrin, has been a major practice adopted to manage this pest. Reports of field failure of pyrethroids have increased since 2013. Striacosta albicosta populations were collected in 2016 and 2017 from maize fields in Nebraska, Kansas, and Canada and screened with bifenthrin active ingredient in larval contact dose-response bioassays. Resistance ratios estimated were generally low in 2016 (1.04- to 1.32-fold) with the highest LC50 in North Platte, NE (66.10 ng/cm2) and lowest in Scottsbluff, NE (50.10 ng/cm2). In 2017, O'Neill, NE showed the highest LC50 (100.66 ng/cm2) and Delhi, Canada exhibited the lowest (6.33 ng/cm2), resulting in a resistance ratio variation of 6.02- to 15.90-fold. Implications of bifenthrin resistance levels were further investigated by aerial application simulations. Experiments were conducted with a spray chamber where representative S. albicosta populations were exposed to labeled rates of a commercial bifenthrin formulation. Experiments resulted in 100% mortality for all populations, instars, insecticide rates, and carrier volumes, suggesting that levels of resistance estimated for bifenthrin active ingredient did not seem to impact the efficacy of the correspondent commercial product under controlled conditions. Results obtained from this research indicate that control failures reported in Nebraska could be associated with factors other than insecticide resistance, such as issues with the application technique, environmental conditions during and/or after application, or the insect's natural behavior. Data generated will assist future S. albicosta resistance management programs.

Striacosta albicosta (Smith), commonly referred to as western bean cutworm, is a significant pest of maize, Zea mays (L.), and dry edible bean, Phaseolus vulgaris (L.). First identified in Arizona in 1887 (Smith 1887), S. albicosta is native to the southwestern region of the United States. Reports of economic damage caused by larval feeding started in the late 1950s, and were only common in Colorado, Idaho, and Nebraska (Hoerner 1948; Douglass et al. 1957; Hagen 1962, 1963). However, by late 1999, S. albicosta had begun to expand eastward. Since then, S. albicosta has caused economic damage as far east as Pennsylvania, New York, and Quebec, Canada (Baute 2009, Tooker and Fleischer 2010, Ingerson-Mahar 2012, Whalen 2012, Smith et al. 2018a). Furthermore, there have been reports of damage to maize and dry bean in northeastern Mexico (Sánchez-Peña et al. 2016).

In maize, S. albicosta larvae first feed on tassel and pollen until reaching the third to the fourth instar, when most feeding concentrates directly on developing kernels at the ear tip or sides of the ear (Michel et al. 2010, Paula-Moraes et al. 2013). Kernel feeding can damage up to 40% of the ear and introduce secondary fungal infections (Hagen 1962, Catangui and Berg 2006, Parker et al. 2016, Smith et al. 2018b). Reports of yield losses in maize vary, ranging from 248.83 kg/ha (Seymour et al. 2010) to 1,013.47 kg/ha (Paula-Moraes et al. 2013).

Only two transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins have shown any efficacy against S. albicosta (Eichenseer et al. 2008). With recent development of resistance to the Cry1F protein (Ostrem et al. 2016, Smith et al. 2017), the only remaining effective protein is VIP3A (Bowers et al. 2014, Farhan et al. 2017). Therefore, insecticide application is the most routinely employed, and critically important, method for managing this insect, with the majority of early research on S. albicosta control addressing this strategy (Hoerner 1948; Hagen 1962, 1963; Hanstbarger 1969; Hirnyck 1983; Archibald et al. 2017; Montezano et al. 2017; Swoboda-Bhattarai et al. 2018). An understanding of S. albicosta biology is critical to the effective application of chemical control. Because of S. albicosta's instar-specific feeding behavior (starting on developing tassel tissue within the whorl during early instars and moving to the ear zone during later instars), larvae are vulnerable to chemical control for a short period. Therefore, correct timing of chemical treatment is critical and should not be initiated before the pest population is active and exposed or after ear damage has begun (Higley and Peterson 1994, Paula-Moraes et al. 2012). In Nebraska, the most common threshold recommended by extension entomologists and crop consultants is 5–8% of plants with an egg mass or larvae (Paula-Moraes et al. 2013). However, for regions where Fusarium graminearum (Schwabe) (Hypocreales: Nectriaceae) infection is more prevalent, the 5% threshold may be too high, and repeated scouting of the same field starting in mid-July may be necessary to make control decisions based on region-specific action thresholds (OMAFRA 2017, Smith et al. 2018b).

Multiple classes of insecticides have been identified as effective against S. albicosta, including carbamates, organophosphates, pyrethroids, spinosyns, Bt, diacylhydrazines, and diamides. In Nebraska, the most commonly used class of insecticides is pyrethroids, with bifenthrin being the most common active ingredient (Archibald et al. 2017). Pyrethroids accounted for 81% of all insecticide applications targeting S. albicosta in Nebraska between 2014 and 2016, and rarely included rotation of the mode of action (Archibald et al. 2017). The most common commercial products used were Brigade (bifenthrin), Hero (bifenthrin + zeta-cypermethrin), Mustang Maxx (zeta-cypermethrin), Capture (bifenthrin), and Warrior (lambda-cyhalothrin) (Archibald et al. 2017). For Kansas and Canada there is no information available for the percentage of the current use of pyrethroids, but it is registered every year for use to manage S. albicosta (Farhan et al. 2017). Pyrethroid insecticides have been used for more than 40 yr and along with organophosphate insecticides account for the vast majority of applied insecticides in terms of volume and acres (Perry and Moschini 2019).

Despite the frequent use of pyrethroids against S. albicosta, growers and crop consultants from the western U.S. Corn Belt have been reporting inadequate control since approximately 2013. A recent survey performed in Nebraska indicated that 41.1% of respondents reported a decrease in insecticide efficacy against S. albicosta (Archibald et al. 2017). While there are no cases of S. albicosta pyrethroid resistance reported in the literature, there have been more than 100 reported cases of resistance to first-generation pyrethroid insecticides among Noctuidae pests since the early 1980s (e.g., Pietrantonio et al. 2007, Whalen 2012, Malaquias et al. 2015, Qayyum et al. 2015, Saleem et al. 2016). The frequent use of pyrethroids in the western Corn Belt could be selecting S. albicosta and other maize pests for resistance. In fact, development of pyrethroid resistance has already been confirmed in this region for the western corn rootworm Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte (Pereira et al. 2015, 2017; Souza et al. 2019).

With limited control for S. albicosta from Bt toxins expressed in transgenic maize (Ostrem et al. 2016, Smith et al. 2017) and the market increase in inexpensive pyrethroid generic formulations (Dewar 2016), it is expected that growers will continue or even increase use of these insecticides. A baseline study of S. albicosta is therefore critical for the development of an appropriate resistance-monitoring plan and insect resistance management (IRM) program supporting the early detection of insecticide resistance. However, levels of bifenthrin susceptibility have never been formally evaluated in S. albicosta populations, nor the decrease in pyrethroid efficacy reported in the U.S. Corn Belt. Thus, the objective of this project was to determine the current baseline susceptibility of field-collected populations of S. albicosta to the pyrethroid bifenthrin using residual exposure overlay bioassays. Considering that insect resistance levels found in the laboratory for pesticide active ingredients do not always correlate to in-field control failure (Siegfried et al. 2007; Tabashnik et al. 2009, 2013; Luttrell and Jackson 2012; Souza et al. 2019), we also evaluated the performance of a commercial bifenthrin formulation by simulated aerial applications.

Materials and Methods

Insect Collections

Bioassays were conducted on neonate larvae hatched from field-collected egg masses or from egg masses laid by field-collected adults. In 2016, five field populations from Nebraska were tested: Scottsbluff, Brule, Benkelman, Grand Island, and North Platte (Fig. 1). In 2017, four additional populations from Nebraska (Kearney North, Kearney South, Grant, and O'Neill), one from Colby, KS, and one from Delhi, ON, Canada (Fig. 1) were included. Field-collected egg masses were cut from maize leaves, placed into plastic containers, and transported in coolers to the laboratory where they were transferred to moistened filter paper inside Petri dishes. Collected eggs were held in growth chambers at 26.6°C, 70–80% RH, 16:8 (L:D) h photoperiod and monitored daily for hatching. Adults were collected from black light traps (Montezano et al. 2019) placed on the outer field edge of each sampling location, taken to the laboratory, and transferred to rearing cages (63.5 × 63.5 × 63.5 cm) containing pots of late vegetative stage pinto bean plants (P. vulgaris) for oviposition. Adult diet consisted of a 5% sucrose and 0.2% ascorbic acid solution provided in a 150 mm × 15 mm sponge inside a Petri dish. Maintenance of moths and eggs followed the methods described by Dyer et al. (2013). Egg masses laid on bean plants were collected daily, transferred to growth chamber conditions as previously described, and monitored daily for hatching.

Baseline Susceptibility With Bifenthrin Active Ingredient

The susceptibility of S. albicosta populations to bifenthrin was determined in contact dose-response bioassays (Magalhaes et al. 2007) where neonates (<36 h after hatching) were exposed to six to eight concentrations of the insecticide active ingredient (bifenthrin 98%, Chem Service, Inc., West Chester, PA) applied to filter paper discs (Whatman No. 1001 042, Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO). A bifenthrin stock solution (1 μg a.i./μl) was prepared in acetone and further diluted in distilled water to desired exposure concentrations in the range of 4–256 ng/cm2. Filter papers were placed into Petri dishes (4.7 cm in diameter × 0.7 cm height, Pall Corporation, Port Washington, NY) and each received 150 μl of the corresponding bifenthrin concentration. There were three replicates per concentration and treatments with distilled water-only represented the controls. After the filter papers were allowed to dry for 5–10 min, 20 neonates were transferred to each Petri dish using a fine camel-hair paintbrush (size 2). Three Petri dishes were used per treatment per population for a total of 60 neonates per treatment per population. Petri dishes were maintained at 23°C, 70–80% RH, and 24 h scotophase. Mortality was recorded 16 h after larval transfer. Larvae that did not move for at least the length of their body after gentle prodding using a fine camel-hair paintbrush were considered dead.

Fig. 1.

(A) Areas in the United States and Canada where S. albicosta populations were collected. (B) Sites in Nebraska. (C) Site in Kansas.


Efficacy of Bifenthrin Commercial Formulation

Aerial application simulations were performed in the laboratory to investigate the efficacy of a commercial bifenthrin formulation on field populations of S. albicosta. Brigade 2EC (bifenthrin 25.1%, FMC Corporation, Philadelphia, PA) was tested at the lowest (36.8 g a.i./ha; 2.1 fl oz per acre) and highest (112.1 g a.i./ha; 6.4 fl oz per acre) label rates recommended for S. albicosta control. Insecticide solutions were prepared in tap water at two carrier volumes recommended for aerial applications (18.7 and 46.8 liters per ha; 2 and 5 gallons per acre) and applied in a research track spray chamber (DeVries, Hollandale, MN) at the Pesticide Application Technology Laboratory (PAT-Lab, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, West Central Research and Extension Center, North Platte, NE). Spray chamber calibration was completed as described in Souza et al. (2019) using two TT110015 ground spray nozzles (Teejet Technologies, Spraying Systems Co., Wheaton, IL) to reproduce the aerial spray deposition pattern obtained in a cornfield at mid-canopy leaves. The spray deposition data collected at mid-canopy would represent an average exposure that S. albicosta larvae would receive within the top half of the maize canopy, including the exposure on leaves near maize ears. Bottoms and lids of Petri dishes (9.0 mm height × 50.0 mm diameter, Pall Corporation, Port Washington, NY) were prelabeled and evenly distributed on the center of the spray chamber table to receive the insecticide applications. Four Petri dishes were sprayed for each combination of bifenthrin rate, carrier volume, and insect population. Individual applications were performed for each treatment replication. Untreated dishes were used as controls. Petri dishes were left open for 30 min after treatment to guarantee complete drying and then taken to the Agroecosystems Entomology Lab (University of Nebraska–Lincoln, West Central Research and Extension Center, North Platte, NE) for insect infestation. Neonates (<36 h old), second-instar, and third-instar larvae from three field-collected populations (Grand Island, Kearney North, and Kearney South) were infested separately. A group of 20 larvae were transferred to each Petri dish using a fine camel-hair paintbrush. Mortality was recorded at 16 h after infestation, larvae that did not move for at least the length of their body after gentle prodding were considered dead.

The experiment had a factorial treatment design with bifenthrin rates, application rates, and S. albicosta populations as factors in a complete randomized design. The experiment was replicated once with 60 neonates (20 per Petri dish), and 60 second-instar larvae in the first experimental run, and 60 third-instar larvae in the second experimental run.

Statistical Analysis

The bifenthrin dose-response data were analyzed with a probit regression (Finney 1971) using PoloPlus-PC software (LeOra Software LCC 1987) where LC50s with their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs), regression slopes, and the Pearson goodness-of-fit chi-square value (χ2) were obtained. Resistance ratios (RR50s) along with the correspondent 95% CIs were also generated with PoloPlus-PC software as described by Robertson et al. (2007). RR50s are usually calculated by dividing the LC50 of a resistant population by the LC50 of the susceptible population. However, since S. albicosta bifenthrin-resistant or laboratory colonies not previously exposed to insecticides do not exist, RR50s were calculated by dividing the LC50 of each population by the estimated LC50 of the population with lowest LC50 collected each year (Pereira et al. 2015), and nonoverlapping CIs determined significant differences between populations. In each year, the population with the lowest LC50 was used as reference. Scottsbluff, NE and Delhi, Canada were used as reference populations for 2016 and 2017, respectively. Nonoverlapping 95% CI of RR50s determined significant differences between populations (Robertson et al. 2007).

An additional likelihood ratio test for equality and parallelism of probit regressions was performed in PoloPlus-PC at the significance level α = 0.05 to compare the 2016 and 2017 susceptibility of populations collected in similar locations. This test provided an indication of qualitative and quantitative differences in potential year-to-year changes in susceptibility (Robertson and Rappaport 1979, Robertson et al. 2007) with three possible outcomes: 1) lines were equal if both the slopes and intercepts of the probit regressions were statistically the same, suggesting no difference in susceptibility between years; 2) lines were unequal but parallel if only the slopes of the probit lines were statistically the same, indicating quantitative differences in insecticide susceptibility; and 3) lines were not parallel and unequal if both slopes and intercepts were significantly different, suggesting that both quantitative and qualitative genetic variation might be affecting insecticide susceptibility.


Baseline Susceptibility With Bifenthrin Active Ingredient

The bifenthrin LC50s estimated in 2016 for S. albicosta populations ranged from 50.10 ng/cm2 (Scottsbluff) to 66.10 ng/cm2 (North Platte) (Table 1). RR50s were calculated relative to the LC50 of the most susceptible population (Scottsbluff) and ranged from 1.04- to 1.32-fold (Table 1). Overlapping 95% CI of RR50s indicated that there were no statistically significant differences among populations tested in 2016.

In 2017, the bifenthrin LC50s estimated ranged between 6.33 ng/ cm2 (Delhi, Canada) and 100.66 ng/cm2 (O'Neill, NE) (Table 2). RR50s were calculated relative to the most susceptible population (Delhi, Canada) and ranged between 6.33- and 15.90-fold (Table 2) with most 95% CI overlapping each other (Table 2). Considering the fact that a known susceptible population could not be obtained, resistance ratios presented here are likely an underestimate (Payton et al. 2003).

Table 1.

Baseline susceptibility of Striacosta albicosta field populations collected in 2016 to bifenthrin estimated from contact dose-response bioassays with neonates


Table 2.

Baseline susceptibility of Striacosta albicosta field populations collected in 2017 to bifenthrin estimated from contact dose-response bioassays with neonates


Among the five populations collected in Nebraska in both 2016 and 2017, only Scottsbluff had statistically similar susceptibility to bifenthrin in both years (Fig. 2A), where probit regression lines were found to be both equal (χ2 = 0.19; df = 2; P > 0.05) and parallel (χ2 = 0.02; df = 1; P > 0.05). In 2017, Brule was found to be significantly less susceptible to bifenthrin (Fig. 2B) with both hypotheses of equality (χ2 = 39.89; df = 2; P < 0.05) and parallelism (χ2 = 13.02; df = 1; P < 0.05) rejected. In fact, there was a 1.75-fold increase in LC50 estimated for Brule between 2016 (Table 1) and 2017 (Table 2). The probit regression lines estimated for the Grand Island population (Fig. 2C) were also found to be significantly unequal (χ2 = 18.63; df = 2; P < 0.05) and not parallel (χ2 = 11.01; df = 1; P < 0.05). However, Grand Island seemed to be more susceptible to bifenthrin in 2017 (Table 2) than in 2016 (Table 1) with a 1.14-fold decrease in LC50.

The hypothesis of equality was rejected for Benkelman (χ2 = 14.47; df = 2; P < 0.05) (Fig. 2D) and North Platte (χ2 = 15.14; df = 2; P < 0.05) (Fig. 2E) indicating significant differences in bifenthrin susceptibility between 2016 and 2017 populations. Since the hypothesis of parallelism was accepted for the same populations (χ2 = 0.05; df = 2; P > 0.05 and χ2 = 3.35; df = 1; P < 0.05, respectively), variability differences are likely to be quantitative rather than qualitative. In 2017, Benkelman showed a 1.41-fold decrease in bifenthrin LC50, whereas North Platte presented a 1.38-fold increase.

Efficacy of Bifenthrin Commercial Formulation

In the aerial application simulation with bifenthrin commercial insecticide, S. albicosta exhibited 100% mortality for all combinations of insecticide rates (36.8 and 112.1 g a.i./ha), carrier volumes (18.70 and 46.80 liters per ha), insect populations (Grand Island, Kearney South, and Kearney North), and instars (neonates, second, and third) tested, while 100% survival was observed in all correspondent control treatments.

Fig. 2.

Probit linear regressions tested for equality and parallelism of slopes and intercepts at the significance level α = 0.05. Comparing 2016 (dashed) and 2017 (line) estimations within western bean cutworm population, lines were: both equal and parallel for (A) Scottsbluff, NE. Unequal and not parallel for (B) Brule, NE, and (C) Grand Island, NE. Unequal but parallel for (D) Benkelman, NE, and (E) North Platte, NE.



Based on this study, the most susceptible field population of S. albicosta in Nebraska in 2016 was from Scottsbluff, which was not significantly different from the least susceptible population from North Platte, and with only a 1.32-fold of resistance ratio between these populations (Table 1). The earliest reports of complaints about decreased efficacy of pyrethroids in Nebraska were from the southwestern region (J. A. Peterson, personal communication); therefore, Benkelman, NE was considered to be a ‘problem field’ population. Updated field reports from 2017 indicated that the Kearney, NE sites also had failures in controlling S. albicosta using pyrethroids. ‘Nonproblem field’ populations were classified as areas where application failures of pyrethroids had not been reported (e.g., Scottsbluff, Brule, Grand Island, and North Platte, NE). However, for all 2016 collections in Nebraska, the 95% CIs of estimated resistance ratios overlapped, indicating that there were no significant differences in susceptibility among these populations. Our data show that although Kearney, NE sites had higher bifenthrin LC50s compared to the geographically nearest site (Grand Island, NE), their RR50 levels were not significantly different. This suggests that reported failures were not necessarily associated with a relative difference in insecticide susceptibility as measured by contact dose-response bioassays. This finding may be explained by the fact that S. albicosta are mobile. Adults may move freely between sprayed and nonsprayed fields and it is possible that there is high gene flow among S. albicosta populations, diluting potential resistant alleles and generating a similar pattern of susceptibility between the populations in Nebraska. Consequently, it can be expected that, if there has been an increase in resistance alleles in recent years, it is widespread among Nebraska populations.

RR50s ≥ 10 has been used to determine cases of resistance (Mota-Sanchez et al. 2002, Tabashnik et al. 2014), whereas lower magnitudes often indicate natural variation among populations (Robertson et al. 1995). However, because a susceptible laboratory population could not be obtained for reference, resistance ratios found in this study were likely underestimated (Payton et al. 2003). Overall, the LC50s among Nebraska field populations were similar in 2016 and 2017 (Tables 1 and 2), and the aerial application simulation with bifenthrin commercial insecticide exhibited 100% mortality for the conditions evaluated, suggesting that any changes in LC50s between the 2 yr were due to natural variation among the populations (Robertson et al. 1995). However, when the Delhi, ON, Canada population was used as a reference in 2017, an approximately 15-fold difference in susceptibility was detected for Brule, North Platte, and O'Neill, NE locations. The lower bifenthrin LC50 of Delhi, Canada detected in 2017 was somewhat expected. The expansion of S. albicosta from the western U.S. Corn Belt to southeastern Canada likely started around 2008 when the pest was first reported in the province of Ontario (Smith et al. 2018a). Since that was before initial reports of pyrethroid failures in Nebraska had begun, it would be expected that founder S. albicosta populations settling in Canada were still considerably susceptible to pyrethroids and that without further selection pressure, resistance alleles remained at low frequency (Roush and Daly 1990). In addition, if there have been S. albicosta populations migrating into Canada more recently, there may have been reversion toward susceptibility after a few generations without intense selection pressure (Mascarenhas et al. 1998, Sial and Brunner 2012).

The region of O'Neill, located in north central Nebraska, is known for high production of non-Bt popcorn and non-Bt edible white maize, therefore relying significantly on pyrethroid applications to control pests such as Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) and Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), in addition to S. albicosta. Aerial applications of pyrethroids are also common in Bt maize around Brule and North Platte to complement D. v. virgifera control strategies (Pereira et al. 2015, 2017; Souza et al. 2019). The timing of these insecticide aerial applications often overlaps with S. albicosta oviposition and larval feeding activities, providing considerable pyrethroid exposure and selection pressure on this pest. These agronomic practices have led to high selection pressure for resistance to pyrethroids in these regions and are likely to explain the higher resistance ratios observed in 2017 for these populations.

Results from the spray chamber experiment indicate that the levels of bifenthrin susceptibility estimated for S. albicosta populations in the contact dose-response bioassays might not be high enough to impact the performance of a correspondent commercial formulation under controlled conditions. These results were not only found for neonates, but also for second- and third-instar larvae, suggesting that the reduced efficacy of the pyrethroid bifenthrin reported locally might have occurred due to factors other than decrease in susceptibility to insecticide active ingredients, such as chemical application techniques. Aerial applications often provide inconsistent insecticide coverage that can result in reduced control due to sublethal exposure (Bynum et al. 1991, Souza et al. 2019). Such features of aerial application, combined with the short period during which S. albicosta is exposed to chemical applications, and high temperatures in the U.S. Corn Belt during aerial applications, might be critical factors leading to reports of low pyrethroid efficacy. Further studies of operational factors influencing pyrethroid field efficacy against S. albicosta may help to improve the efficiency of chemical management practices adopted for this pest.

Although S. albicosta pyrethroid resistance was not confirmed in the U.S. western Corn Belt, a significant increase in bifenthrin LC50s estimated for Brule and North Platte, NE populations occurred between 2016 and 2017. Results from the likelihood ratio test for equality and parallelism of probit regression lines suggest that both quantitative and qualitative genetic variations may be affecting the shift in bifenthrin susceptibility observed. Multiple mechanisms of pyrethroid resistance have been found in insect species, which includes not only different genes and mutations carried by resistant populations, but also change in expression of detoxification enzymes (Li et al. 2007). Biological characteristics of S. albicosta, such as high fecundity and ability to disperse long distances (Michel et al. 2010), may contribute to a rapid resistance evolution and spreading of pyrethroid resistance alleles under selection pressure (Georghiou and Taylor 1977).

The best period for the establishment of baseline susceptibility of a target pest to a specific chemical or new plant-incorporated protectant (PIP) should be prior to the extensive marketable use of such product, and most importantly, prior to the development of resistance among field populations (Wu 2014). Such data are necessary for determining susceptibility changes related to the exposure to the chemical, monitoring of the evolution of resistance, and the development of adequate IRM strategies (Roush and Miller 1986). Changes in S. albicosta susceptibility to pyrethroids might have occurred in the U.S. western Corn Belt in the last 20 yr of use of this insecticide class. However, no baseline susceptibility was previously developed for this pest. The bifenthrin baseline susceptibility data generated in this study represent the first step in the development of a pyrethroid resistance-monitoring program for S. albicosta field populations. With the imminent establishment of S. albicosta as a primary pest beyond its original range (Smith et al. 2018a), adoption of informed IRM practices within integrated pest management programs will be critical to delay the evolution of S. albicosta resistance to pyrethroids and to prolong the efficacy of technologies currently available to control this pest.


The authors are very thankful to Dr. Blair Siegfried for participation in the grant writing process and the formulation of the project objectives and methods. We are grateful to Dr. Jocelyn Smith and Yasmin Farhan (University of Guelph, Canada) for providing S. albicosta eggs. We are grateful to Kayla A. Mollet, Priscila M. C. da Luz, Grace E. Hirzel, and Robert A. King from the Agroecosystems Entomology Lab in North Platte for field collections. We are grateful to Rick Patrick from the Panhandle Entomology Lab in Scottsbluff for field collections. Funding was provided by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Grant number 2015-67028-23519 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Critical Agricultural Research & Extension, A1701. Author Contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments: D.G.M., T.E.H., J.A.P., J.D.B., S.N.Z., and D.S. Performed the experiments: D.G.M., D.S., and B.C.V. Analyzed the data: D.G.M., D.S., and A.M.V. Interpreted the data: D.G.M., T.E.H., J.A.P., D.S., and A.M.V. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools/facilities: T.E.H., J.A.P., S.N.Z., and G.R.K. Wrote the paper: D.G.M., T.E.H., J.A.P., D.S., and A.M.V.

References Cited


Archibald, W. R., J. D. Bradshaw, D. A. Golick, R. J. Wright, and J. A. Peterson. 2017. Nebraska growers' and crop consultants' knowledge and implementation of integrated pest management of western bean cutworm. J. Integr. Pest Manag. 9: 1. Google Scholar


Baute, T. 2009. Current distribution of western bean cutworm in the great lakes region. Crop. Pest. Ont. Newsl. 14: 7–8. Scholar


Bowers, E., R. Hellmich, and G. Munkvold. 2014. Comparison of fumonisin contamination using HPLC and ELISA methods in Bt and near-isogenic maize hybrids infested with European corn borer or western bean cutworm. J. Agric. Food Chem. 62: 6463–6472. Google Scholar


Bynum, E. D., T. L. Archer, W. M. Lyle, J. P. Bordovsky, and A. B. Onken. 1991. Chemical coverage on corn and sorghum plants sprayed with lithium sulfate using an airplane, chemigation, or a multifunction irrigation-pesticide application system. J. Econ. Entomol. 84: 1869–1878. Google Scholar


Catangui, M. A., and R. K. Berg. 2006. Western bean cutworm, Striacosta albicosta (Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), as a potential pest of transgenic Cry1Ab Bacillus thuringiensis corn hybrids in South Dakota. Environ. Entomol. 35: 1439–1452. Google Scholar


Dewar, A. M. 2016. Have pyrethroid insecticides shot the agricultural industry in the foot? Outlooks Pest Manag. 27: 98–100. Google Scholar


Douglass, J. R., J. W. Ingram, K. E. Gibson, and W. E. Peay. 1957. The western bean cutworm as a pest of corn in Idaho. J. Econ. Entomol. 50: 543–545. Google Scholar


Dyer, J., L. Lewis, T. Sappington, B. Coates, C. Abel, K. Bidne, B. Gunnarson, and R. Hellmich. 2013. Western bean cutworm laboratory rearing manual. Iowa State University, Ames, IA. Google Scholar


Eichenseer, H., R. Strohbehn, and J. Burks. 2008. Frequency and severity of western bean cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) ear damage in transgenic corn hybrids expressing different Bacillus thuringiensis cry toxins. J. Econ. Entomol. 101: 555–563. Google Scholar


Farhan, Y., J. L. Smith, and A. W. Schaafsma. 2017. Baseline susceptibility of Striacosta albicosta (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Ontario, Canada to Vip3A Bacillus thuringiensis protein. J. Econ. Entomol. 111: 65–71. Google Scholar


Finney, D. J. 1971. Probit analysis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom. Google Scholar


Georghiou, G. P., and C. E. Taylor. 1977. Genetic and biological influences in the evolution of insecticide resistance. J. Econ. Entomol. 70: 319–323. Google Scholar


Hagen, A. F. 1962. The biology and control of the western bean cutworm in dent corn in Nebraska. J. Econ. Entomol. 55: 628–631. Google Scholar


Hagen, A. F. 1963. Evaluation of populations and control of the western bean cutworm in field beans in Nebraska. J. Econ. Entomol. 56: 222–224. Google Scholar


Hanstbarger, W. M. 1969. The western bean cutworm in Colorado. Colo. Agric. Chem. Conf. Proc. 2: 25–27. Google Scholar


Higley, L. G., and R. K. D. Peterson. 1994. Initiating sampling programs, pp. 123–145. In Handbook of sampling methods for arthropods in agriculture. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL. Google Scholar


Hirnyck, R. E. 1983. Management of banks grass mite Oligonychus pratensis (Banks), in field corn treated with insecticides for control of western bean cutworm, Loxagrotis albicosta (Smith). M.S. thesis, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE. Google Scholar


Hoerner, J. L. 1948. The cutworm Loxagrotis albicosta on beans. J. Econ. Entomol. 41: 631–635. Google Scholar


Ingerson-Mahar, J. 2012. Western bean cutworm found in New Jersey. Plant Pest Advis. 18: 1. Rutgers Cooperative Extension. plantandpestadvisory/2012/vc071812.pdfGoogle Scholar


LeOra Software. 1987. POLO-PC. A user's guide to probit and logit analysis. LeOra Software, Berkeley, CA. Google Scholar


Li, X., M. A. Schuler, and M. R. Berenbaum. 2007. Molecular mechanisms of metabolic resistance to synthetic and natural xenobiotics. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 52: 231–253. Google Scholar


Luttrell, R. G., and R. E. Jackson. 2012. Helicoverpa zea and Bt cotton in the United States. GM Crops Food. 3: 213–227. Google Scholar


Magalhaes, L. C., B. W. French, T. E. Hunt, and B. D. Siegfried. 2007. Baseline susceptibility of western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) to clothianidin. J. Appl. Entomol. 131: 251–255. Google Scholar


Malaquias, J. B., C. Omoto, F. D. S. Ramalho, W. A. C. Wesley, and R. F. Silveira. 2015. Bt cotton and the predator Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) in the management of Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) resistance to lambda-cyhalothrin. J. Pest. Sci. 88: 57–63. Google Scholar


Mascarenhas, V. J., J. B. Graves, B. R. Leonard, and E. Burris. 1998. Susceptibility of field populations of beet armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to commercial and experimental insecticides. J. Econ. Entomol. 91: 827–833. Google Scholar


Michel, A. P., C. H. Krupke, T. S. Baute, and C. D. Difonzo. 2010. Ecology and management of the western bean cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in corn and dry beans. J. Integ. Pest Manag. 1: A1–A10. Google Scholar


Montezano, D. G., K. A. Mollet, G. E. Hirzel, and J. A. Peterson. 2017. Evaluation of foliar insecticides for the control of western bean cutworm in field corn, 2016. Arthropod Manag. Tests. 42: 1. Google Scholar


Montezano, D. G., T. E. Hunt, S. Specht, P. M. C. Luz, and J. A. Peterson. 2019. Life history parameters of Striacosta albicosta (Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) under laboratory conditions. J. Insect. Sci. 19: 4. Google Scholar


Mota-Sanchez, D., S. P. Bills, and M. E. Whalon. 2002. Arthropod resistance to pesticides: status and overview, pp. 241–272. In W. Wheeler and B. Gainesville (eds.), Pesticides in agriculture and the environment. Marcel Decker, New York, NY. Google Scholar


OMAFRA. 2017. Insects and pests of field crops, pp. 322–324. In C. Brown (ed.), Agronomy guide for field crops publication 811. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, Toronto, ON, Canada. Google Scholar


Ostrem, J. S., Z. Pan, J. L. Flexner, E. Owens, R. Binning, and L. S. Higgins. 2016. Monitoring susceptibility of western bean cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) field populations to Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1F protein. J. Econ. Entomol. 109: 847–853. Google Scholar


Parker, N. S., N. R. Anderson, D. S. Richmond, E. Y. Long, K. A. Wise, and C. H. Krupke. 2016. Larval western bean cutworm feeding damage encourages the development of Gibberella ear rot on field corn. Pest Manag. Sci. 73: 546–553. Google Scholar


Paula-Moraes, S. V., T. E. Hunt, R. J. Wright, G. L. Hein, and E. E. Blankenship. 2012. On-plant movement and feeding of western bean cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) early instars on corn. Environ. Entomol. 41: 1494–1500. Google Scholar


Paula-Moraes, S., T. E. Hunt, R. J. Wright, G. L. Hein, and E. E. Blankenship. 2013. Western bean cutworm survival and the development of economic injury levels and economic thresholds in field corn. J. Econ. Entomol. 106: 1274–1285. Google Scholar


Payton, M. E., M. H. Greenstone, and N. Schenker. 2003. Overlapping confidence intervals or standard error intervals: what do they mean in terms of statistical significance? J. Insect Sci. 3: 34. Google Scholar


Pereira, A. E., H. Wang, S. N. Zukoff, L. J. Meinke, B. W. French, and B. D. Siegfried. 2015. Evidence of field-evolved resistance to bifenthrin in western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) populations in western Nebraska and Kansas. PLoS One. 10: e0142299. Google Scholar


Pereira, A. E., D. Souza, S. N. Zukoff, L. J. Meinke, and B. D. Siegfried. 2017. Cross-resistance and synergism bioassays suggest multiple mechanisms of pyrethroid resistance in western corn rootworm populations. PLoS One. 12: e0179311. Google Scholar


Perry, E., and G. Moschini. 2019. Neonicotinoids in US maize: insecticide substitution effects and environmental risk. Working Paper 19-wp 590. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development Iowa State University, SSRN′s eLibrary. Google Scholar


Pietrantonio, P. V., T. A. Junek, R. Parker, D. Mott, K. Siders, N. Troxclair, J. Vargas-Camplis, J. K. Westbrook, and V. A. Vassiliou. 2007. Detection and evolution of resistance to the pyrethroid cypermethrin in Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) populations in Texas. Environ. Entomol. 36: 1174–1188. Google Scholar


Qayyum, M. A., W. Wakil, M. J. Arif, S. T. Sahi, N. A. Saeed, and D. A. Russell. 2015. Multiple resistances against formulated organophosphates, pyrethroids, and newer-chemistry insecticides in populations of Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) from Pakistan. J. Econ. Entomol. 108: 286–293. Google Scholar


Robertson, J. L., and N. G. Rappaport. 1979. Direct, indirect and residual toxicities of insecticide sprays to western spruce budworm, Choristoneura occidentalis (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Can. Entomol. 111: 1219–1226. Google Scholar


Robertson, J. L., H. K. Priesler, L. A. Hickle, and W. D. Gelernter. 1995. Natural variation: a complicating factor in bioassays with chemical and microbial pesticides. J. Econ. Entomol. 88: 1–10. Google Scholar


Robertson, J. L., N. E. Savin, H. K. Preisler, and R. M. Russell. 2007. Bioassays with arthropods, 2nd ed. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. Google Scholar


Roush, R. T., and J. C. Daly. 1990. The role of population genetics in resistance research and management. pp. 97–152. In R. T. Roush and B. E. Tabashnik (eds.), Pesticide resistance in arthropods. Chapman & Hall, New York, NY. Google Scholar


Roush, R. T., and G. L. Miller. 1986. Considerations for design of insecticide resistance monitoring programs. J. Econ. Entomol. 79: 293–298. Google Scholar


Saleem, M., D. Hussain, G. Ghouse, M. Abbas, and S. W. Fisher. 2016. Monitoring of insecticide resistance in Spodoptera litura (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) from four districts of Punjab, Pakistan to conventional and new chemistry insecticides. Crop Prot. 79: 177–184. Google Scholar


Sánchez-Peña, S. R., R. I. Torres-Acosta, and D. Camacho-Ponce. 2016. The second report of the western bean cutworm, Striacosta albicosta (Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) as a dominant corn pest in Mexico. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 118: 389–392. Google Scholar


Seymour, R. C., G. L. Hein, and R. J. Wright. 2010. Western bean cutworm in corn and dry beans. Neb Guide G2013. Nebraska Cooperative Extension Bulletin, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE. Scholar


Sial, A. A., and J. F. Brunner. 2012. Selection for resistance, reversion towards susceptibility and synergism of chlorantraniliprole and spinetoram in obliquebanded leafroller, Choristoneura rosaceana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Pest Manag. Sci. 68: 462–468. Google Scholar


Siegfried, B. D., T. Spencer, A. L. Crespo, N. P. Storer, G. P. Head, E. D. Owens, and D. Guyer. 2007. Ten years of Bt resistance monitoring in the European corn borer: what we know, what we don’t know, and what we can do better. Am. Entomol. 53: 208–214. Google Scholar


Smith, J. B. 1887. North American Noctuidae. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 10: 454. Google Scholar


Smith, J. L., M. D. Lepping, D. M. Rule, Y. Farhan, and A. W. Schaafsma. 2017. Evidence for field-evolved resistance of Striacosta albicosta (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to Cry1F Bacillus thuringiensis protein and transgenic corn hybrids in Ontario, Canada. J. Econ. Entomol. 110: 2217–2228. Google Scholar


Smith, J. L., T. S. Baute, M. M. Sebright, A. W. Schaafsma, and C. D. DiFonzo. 2018a. Establishment of Striacosta albicosta (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) as a primary pest of corn in the Great Lakes Region. J. Econ. Entomol. 111: 1732–1744. Google Scholar


Smith, J. L., V. Limay-Rios, D. C. Hooker, and A. W. Schaafsma. 2018b. Fusarium graminearum mycotoxins in maize associated with Striacosta albicosta (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) injury. J. Econ. Entomol. 111: 1227–1242. Google Scholar


Souza, D., B. C. Vieira, B. K. Fritz, W. C. Hoffmann, J. A. Peterson, G. R. Kruger, and L. J. Meinke. 2019. Western corn rootworm pyrethroid resistance confirmed by aerial application simulations of commercial insecticides. Sci. Rep. 9: 6713. Google Scholar


Swoboda-Bhattarai, K. A., G. E. Hirzel, and J. A. Peterson. 2018. Evaluation of foliar insecticides for the control of western bean cutworm in field corn, 2017. Arthropod Manag. Tests. 43: 1. Google Scholar


Tabashnik, B. E., J. B. Van Rensburg, and Y. Carrière. 2009. Field-evolved insect resistance to Bt crops: definition, theory, and data. J. Econ. Entomol. 102: 2011–2025. Google Scholar


Tabashnik, B. E., T. Brévault, and Y. Carrière. 2013. Insect resistance to Bt crops: lessons from the first billion acres. Nat. Biotechnol. 31: 510–521. Google Scholar


Tabashnik, B. E., D. Mota-Sanchez, M. E. Whalon, R. M. Hollingworth, and Y. Carrière. 2014. Defining terms for proactive management of resistance to Bt crops and pesticides. J. Econ. Entomol. 107: 496–507. Google Scholar


Tooker, J. F., and S. J. Fleischer. 2010. Google Scholar


Whalen, J. 2012. Western bean cutworm verified. Weekly crop update. 20:1. University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Scholar


Wu, Y. 2014. Detection and mechanisms of resistance evolved in insects to Cry toxins from Bacillus thuringiensis. Adv. Insect Phys. 47: 297–342. Google Scholar
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
Débora G. Montezano, Thomas E. Hunt, Dariane Souza, Bruno C. Vieira, Ana M. Vélez, Greg R. Kruger, Sarah N. Zukoff, Jeffrey D. Bradshaw, and Julie A. Peterson "Bifenthrin Baseline Susceptibility and Evaluation of Simulated Aerial Applications in Striacosta albicosta (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)," Journal of Economic Entomology 112(6), 2915-2922, (31 August 2019).
Received: 21 May 2019; Accepted: 1 August 2019; Published: 31 August 2019
baseline susceptibility
resistance management
spray chamber
Back to Top