Sampling techniques for thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) were compared in preflowering tomato plants at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton, GA, in 2000 and 2003, to determine the most effective method of determining abundance of thrips on tomato foliage early in the growing season. Three relative sampling techniques, including a standard insect aspirator, a 946-ml beat cup, and an insect vacuum device, were compared for accuracy to an absolute method and to themselves for precision and efficiency of sampling thrips. Thrips counts of all relative sampling methods were highly correlated (R > 0.92) to the absolute method. The aspirator method was the most accurate compared with the absolute sample according to regression analysis in 2000. In 2003, all sampling methods were considered accurate according to Dunnett’s test, but thrips numbers were lower and sample variation was greater than in 2000. In 2000, the beat cup method had the lowest relative variation (RV) or best precision, at 1 and 8 d after transplant (DAT). Only the beat cup method had RV values <25 for all sampling dates. In 2003, the beat cup method had the lowest RV value at 15 and 21 DAT. The beat cup method also was the most efficient method for all sample dates in both years. Frankliniella fusca (Pergande) was the most abundant thrips species on the foliage of preflowering tomato in both years of study at this location. Overall, the best thrips sampling technique tested was the beat cup method in terms of precision and sampling efficiency.
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Vol. 97 • No. 4