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Predators of Budworm/bollworm Eggs in Cotton: an Immunological Study

John R. Ruberson and Matthew H. Greenstone


Various predators were sampled in a 30-acre cotton field during the 1996 growing season and assayed for the presence of heliothine egg protein. A modified ELISA was used to assay the predators. A total of 3355 predators was collected and assayed. Of these, 6.49% proved to have egg antigen in them. Of the species assayed, big-eyed bugs (Geocoris punctipes), red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta), Scymnus lady beetles, and winter spiders (Chiracanthium inclusum) yielded the majority of positive responses. The frequency of positive responses correlated to some extent with the relative abundance of heliothine eggs in the field. However, abundance of cotton aphids relative to heliothine eggs during aphid outbreaks may have negative consequences for the efficacy of natural enemies against heliothine eggs, as all of the predators examined have catholic feeding habits.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1998 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 1095 - 1098
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998