Systena frontalis

(F.) is an insect pest of nursery production systems in the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast regions of the United States. Adults feed on plant leaves and can reduce salability of container-grown nursery plants. Limited management options are available to protect plants from S. frontalis adult feeding damage. Insecticide spray applications to plant leaves are labor-intensive and not cost-efficient. Systemic insecticide applications to the growing medium may protect plants from S. frontalis adult feeding. In 2023, we conducted two laboratory and two greenhouse experiments to assess the residual activity of the systemic insecticides dinotefuran, thiamethoxam, and acephate against field-collected populations of S. frontalis adults. In the laboratory experiments, growing medium containing Itea virginica L. ‘Little Henry’ plants were treated with these three systemic insecticides. Twenty-five and 45 d after treatments were applied, leaves were collected and placed into petri dishes with a single S. frontalis adult. In the greenhouse experiments, Itea plants were placed into plastic observation cages. Eight S. frontalis adults were released into each cage with a single Itea plant. In the laboratory experiments 25 and 45 d after application of dinotefuran and thiamethoxam, the S. frontalis adults in the dishes with treated leaves had 66–90% mortality after 72 h. In the greenhouse experiments, dinotefuran and thiamethoxam protected Itea plants from S. frontalis adult feeding 45 d after application; 2.4 and 2.8 mm2 of leaf area were fed upon by S. frontalis adults. These results indicate that systemic insecticides can reduce feeding damage by S. frontalis adults on container-grown nursery plants.

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