Project Summaries

12-364  Project Manager: P. F. O'Leary

CHARACTERIZATION OF COTTON CROP RESPONSE TO THRIPS INJURY FOR IMPROVED THRIPS MANAGEMENT IN TEXAS HIGH PLAINS COTTON

Megha N. Parajulee, Texas AgriLife Research

Thrips are serious seedling cotton pests in Texas. Cancellation of aldicarb, the most commonly used insecticide for thrips management, would directly affect cotton growers, who will subsequently be in critical need of alternative thrips management techniques. The ultimate goal of this project is to generate information which will assist Texas growers in timing thrips management actions for optimal yield potential and minimal economic loss. A pure and healthy laboratory colony of each thrips species is vital to efforts of conducting experiments related to their damage potential and characterization of the cotton plant's response to thrips injury in laboratory and field settings. Thrips mass rearing protocols were evaluated for Frankliniella occidentalis and Kurtomathrips morrilli. Thrips were reared on four different types of diet including: 1) fresh green beans, 2) a diluted honey solution, 3) honey bee pollen, and 4) fresh cucumber. Green beans with honey and/or pollen supplement was found to be the most suitable and easily available food source for Frankliniella occidentalis rearing, but Kurtomathrips morrilli colony did not colonize successfully on green beans. Thrips field-cage studies in cotton are challenging and have never been reported from Texas High Plains. Five types of thrips cages were designed to confine thrips to single cotton plants in the field. Thrips cages were optimized for higher thrips containment, survival and better plant quality. Ventilated 1-gallon plastic jar cages were selected for the field evaluations. The thrips cages were deployed to evaluate cotton seedling response to 5 selected thrips densities (0, 1, 2 4 and 6 adult thrips per plant). Field cages failed to retain the targeted density of adult thrips on the caged plants. None of the cages evaluated were found to be satisfactory for the planned thrips field-cage studies. Thrips were either killed due to overheating inside the cages or the thrips escaped out from the ventilation portions of the cage. The 2013 study will focus on refining the 2012 experimentation to develop thrips field-cages to retain thrips on caged plants with minimal effect on plant quality.

 

Project Year: 2012
 

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