Foliar-applied insecticide treatments may be necessary to manage thrips in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) under severe infestations or when at-planting insecticide seed treatments do not provide satisfactory protection. The most common foliar-applied insecticide is acephate. Field observations in Tennessee suggest that the performance of acephate has declined. Thus, the first objective was to perform leaf-dip bioassays to assess if tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca (Hinds) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), in cotton production regions have evolved resistance to foliar-applied insecticides. A second objective was to assess the performance of commonly applied foliar insecticides for managing thrips in standardized field trials in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas. For both objectives, several insecticides were evaluated including acephate, dicrotophos, dimethoate, lambda-cyhalothrin, imidacloprid, and spinetoram. Field trials and bioassays were completed from 2018 to 2021. Dose-response bioassays with acephate were performed on tobacco thrips field populations and a susceptible laboratory population. Bioassay results suggest that tobacco thrips have developed resistance to acephate and other organophosphate insecticides; however, this resistance seems to be most severe in Arkansas, Tennessee, and the Delta region of Mississippi. Resistance to other classes of insecticides were perhaps even more evident in these bioassays. The performance of these insecticides in field trials was variable, with tobacco thrips only showing consistent signs of resistance to lambda-cyhalothrin. However, it is evident that many populations of tobacco thrips are resistant to multiple classes of insecticides. Further research is needed to determine heritability and resistance mechanism(s).
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