Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals

An evaluation of selective Helicoverpa armigera control options in sweet corn

B. C. G. Scholz, C. J. Monsour and M. P. Zalucki

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 38(6) 601 - 607
Published: 1998


Summary. Helicoverpa armigera is a serious insect pest of sweet corn in Australia and is becoming increasingly difficult to manage with conventional chemical insecticides due to resistance problems. A number of alternative H. armigera control options were evaluated in sweet corn and compared with deltamethrin and no action (control). The alternative tactics evaluated were: heliothis nuclear polyhedrosis virus plus Trichogramma nr. brassicae releases; Bacillus thuringiensis; and Trichogramma alone. The H. zea nuclear polyhedrosis virus + Trichogramma plots had the lowest cob damage (6.0%), followed by the B. thuringiensis plots (12.0%), Trichogramma alone plots (20.2%), control plots (23.2%) and deltamethrin plots (53.5%). There was no evidence to suggest that the Trichogramma nr. brassicae releases had any impact on H. armigera egg mortality. However, there was a large natural population of Trichogramma pretiosum in all plots. The application of deltamethrin reduced the action of these wasps and predators, resulting in higher larval infestation and significantly more cob damage. The findings indicate that the pathogens heliothis nuclear polyhedrosis virus and B. thuringiensis can effectively control H. armigera when their action complements high natural levels of egg parasitism, and that they have potential for use in integrated pest management programs in sweet corn.

© CSIRO 1998

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