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Benefits and Risks of Recombinant Baculoviruses for Control of Heliothines

Kevin M. Heinz, Chad Smith, Richard Minzenmayer, and J. Lindsey Flexner


The tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens) and the pink bollworm, (Helicoverpa zea) are key pests of Texas cotton. Genetically altered baculoviruses present an opportunity for implementation of inundative biological control in a cost effective manner. Field trials conducted in San Angelo, Texas demonstrated the efficacy of several recombinant baculoviruses to control Heliothines infesting cotton with few adverse side effects. Compared to plots sprayed with conventional insecticides, plots treated with baculovirus exhibited no secondary outbreaks of cotton aphid, an abundance of natural enemies, and budworm/bollworm damage levels equivalent to conventional control tactics. Laboratory and field bioassays of natural enemies exposed to various recombinant baculoviruses could not detect any adverse effects on predator life history characteristics.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1998 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 1114 - 1116
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998