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Alternate Crop Hosts as Resistance Management Refuges for Tobacco Budworm in NC

Mark R. Abney, Clyde E. Sorenson, and J.R. Bradley, Jr.


A three-year evaluation of crop host utilization by the tobacco budworm (TBW), Heliothis virescens (F.), was conducted from 2001 to 2003 in the central coastal plain of NC. Weekly monitoring of commercial tobacco and non-Bt cotton fields revealed spatial and temporal patterns of host use, but showed that TBW may be produced in tobacco throughout the growing season. Small plot trials conducted in 2002 and 2003 demonstrated a strong oviposition preference of TBW for tobacco when located adjacent to plantings of alternate crop hosts. Moths collected in pheromone traps placed up to a quarter mile from primary sources of TBW production demonstrate sufficient short-range movement by adult budworms to facilitate mating of individuals produced in distant cotton and tobacco fields. Results of this study indicate that tobacco may serve as an important refuge for both Bt transgenic plants and conventional insecticide resistance management in NC.

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Document last modified 04/27/04