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J Econ Entomol. 2016 Dec 1;109(6):2397-2404. doi: 10.1093/jee/tow191.

Integrated Pest Management Practices Reduce Insecticide Applications, Preserve Beneficial Insects, and Decrease Pesticide Residues in Flue-Cured Tobacco Production.

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Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7613, Raleigh, NC 2769 (;


Integrated pest management (IPM) recommendations, including scouting and economic thresholds (ETs), are available for North Carolina flue-cured tobacco growers, although ETs for key pests have not been updated in several decades. Moreover, reported IPM adoption rates by flue-cured tobacco growers remain low, at < 40%, according to NC cooperative extension surveys conducted during the last four years. Previous research has suggested that timing insecticide treatments using currently available ETs can reduce the average number of applications to two or fewer per season. We conducted field-scale trials at nine commercial tobacco farms, three in 2104 and six in 2015, to quantify inputs associated with current scouting recommendations, to determine if current ETs were able to reduce insecticide applications as compared to grower standard practices, and to assess the impacts of reduced insecticide applications on end of season yield and pesticide residues. Two fields were identified at each farm and were scouted weekly for insects. One field was only treated with insecticides if pests reached ET (IPM), while the other field was managed per grower discretion (Grower Standard). IPM fields received an average of two fewer insecticide applications without compromising yield. More insecticide applications resulted in higher pesticide residues in cured leaf samples from Grower Standard fields than those from IPM fields. Reductions in insecticides and management intensity also resulted in larger beneficial insect populations in IPM fields.


Epitrix hirtipennis; Heliothis virescens; Manduca sexta; economic threshold; integrated pest management

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