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The tobacco whitefly B-biotype Bemisia tabaci Gennadius (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) is a worldwide pest of many crops. In China, chlorpyrifos has been used to control this insect for many years and is still being used despite the fact that some resistance has been reported. To combat resistance and maintain good control efficiency of chlorpyrifos, it is essential to understand resistance mechanisms. A chlorpyrifos resistant tobacco whitefly strain (NJ-R) and a susceptible strain (NJ-S) were derived from a field-collected population in Nanjing, China, and the resistance mechanisms were investigated. More than 30-fold resistance was achieved after selected by chlorpyrifos for 13 generations in the laboratory. However, the resistance dropped significantly to about 18-fold in only 4 generations without selection pressure. Biochemical assays indicated that increased esterase activity was responsible for this resistance, while acetylcholine esterase, glutathione S-transferase, and microsomal-O-demethylase played little or no role. F392W mutations in acel were prevalent in NJ-S and NJ-R strains and 6 field-collected populations of both B and Q-biotype from locations that cover a wide geographical area of China. These findings provide important information about tobacco whitefly chlorpyrifos resistance mechanisms and guidance to combat resistance and optimize use patterns of chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate and carbamate insecticides.