Abstract

The citrus mealybug Planococcus citri (Risso) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) is a major insect pest of greenhouse-grown horticultural crops. The citrus mealybug causes direct damage by feeding on plant leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits, which can lead to substantial economic losses. Consequently, insecticides are used to suppress citrus mealybug populations in greenhouse production systems. However, application factors may influence the efficacy of insecticides in suppressing citrus mealybug populations. Therefore, experiments were conducted under greenhouse conditions to determine the effect of spray volume and application frequency on insecticide efficacy against the citrus mealybug feeding on coleus, Solenostemon scutellarioides (L.) Codd, plants. Four spray volumes (15, 25, 50, and 75 mL), 2 application frequencies (1 or 2 applications), and 3 insecticides (acetamiprid [TriStar®], flonicamid [Aria®], and cyfluthrin [Decathlon®]), each with a different mode of action, were tested. Based on mean percent citrus mealybug mortality, acetamiprid was more effective against citrus mealybugs than flonicamid or cyfluthrin. In the spray volume experiments, acetamiprid applied at 75 mL to each plant resulted in a mean percent citrus mealybug mortality of over 70%. In contrast, flonicamid and cyfluthrin resulted in less than 50% mean citrus mealybug mortality across all experiments. In the application frequency experiments, two spray applications did not result in a significantly higher mean citrus mealybug mortality than one spray application. Our study emphasizes the importance of spray volume and application frequency when using insecticides to suppress citrus mealybug populations.

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