We examined the impact of different plastic mulches and insect management programs on populations of Frankliniella thrips and their natural enemies in field grown peppers. Ultra-violet (UV) reflective mulch significantly reduced numbers of F. tritici compared with standard black plastic mulch. Numbers of immature thrips were actually higher in the UV reflective mulch plots than the black plastic. Part of this difference may result from the highly repellent nature of the UV reflective mulch on natural enemies such as Orius insidiosus. Responses to insecticides were variable. Spinosad, a reduced-risk insecticide, was effective in reducing F. occidentalis, but not F. tritici or F. bispinosa. In contrast, esfenvalerate reduced numbers of F. tritici and F. bispinosa, but actually resulted in higher populations of F. occidentalis. Another reduced-risk insecticide, indoxacarb, did not have a significant effect on thrips abundance. Augmentative releases of O. insidiosus and Geocoris punctipes were not effective in reducing early season populations, but naturally occurring predators probably provided late season control of thrips across all treatments. Our results indicate that UV-reflective mulch combined with early season applications of spinosad would be an effective management strategy for thrips in field grown pepper.
Species 1: Thysanoptera Thripidae Frankliniella occidentalis
Species 2: Thysanoptera Thripidae Frankliniella tritici
Species 3: Heteroptera Anthocoridae Orius insidiosus
Keywords: UV-reflective mulch
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