Effect of sugarcane cultivar and foliar insecticide treatment on infestations of the invasive sugarcane thrips, Fulmekiola serrata (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), in Florida.
Fulmekiola serrata (Kobus) was observed infesting sugarcane, Saccharum spp. hybrids, in the United States for the first time in January 2017 in Florida. Field studies were conducted to determine F. serrata infestation levels on popular sugarcane cultivars and to determine the efficacy of foliar insecticide treatments that could be used for management. Cultivar evaluations comparing six and five commercial cultivars representing >46% of the sugarcane production area in Florida were conducted in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Fulmekiola serrata infestation levels did not differ among cultivars in 2017. However, infestation levels on CP 00-1101 were greater than on CP 96-1252 grown on organic soils, and infestation levels on CP 96-1252 were greater than on CPCL 97-2730 grown on mineral soils in 2018. Three insecticide evaluations, two in 2017 and one in 2018, were conducted. The pyrethroid lambda-cyhalothrin, which is registered for use on sugarcane, was consistently associated with the greatest decreases in F. serrata infestation levels. The neonicotinoids imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, as well as the butenolide flupyradifurone, decreased infestation levels but to a lesser extent than did lambda-cyhalothrin. The spinosyn spinetoram was associated with the lowest decreases in F. serrata infestation levels. Our results supported short-term F. serrata management recommendations: Popular Florida sugarcane cultivars should be considered equally susceptible to F. serrata until additional evaluations are conducted and F. serrata outbreaks can be treated with lambda-cyhalothrin when infestations stress the crop beyond acceptable levels.