University of California

Pink bollworm control in southwestern desert cotton: II. A strategic management model


N. D. Stone
A. P. Gutierrez

Authors Affiliations

N. D. Stone is Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology, Texas A&;M University, College Station, Texas and was formerly Research Assistant, Division of Biological Control, Department of Entomological Sciences, Berkeley; A. P. Gutierrez is Professor, Division of Biological Control, Department of Entomological Sciences, Berkeley.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 54(9):25-41. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v54n09p015. December 1986.

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I. A Field-Oriented Simulation Model

A simulation model for pink bollworm (PBW) and cotton was developed, field validated, and incorporated into an industry sponsored regional PBW management program for southwestern desert cotton. The PBW model differs from earlier versions in its incorporation of stochastic development, the expansion of the concept of physiological time to include nutritional influences of the cotton host on larval development, and its ability to simulate the kinds of data typically collected by pest control advisors when monitoring cotton for pink bollworm.

II. A Strategic Management Model

A simulation model of pink bollworm populations, as affected by insecticide and pheromone applications in cotton, is described. The simulation results compared favorably to field data. The study indicates that use of sex pheromone for control of pink bollworm by mating disruption inversely depends on density and therefore is most effective in the early season when populations are low. Compared to untreated fields, pheromone-treated fields show delayed population peaks and reduced overall infestation. Pheromone applications in the early season delay but do not obviate the need to spray insecticide to limit infestation levels.

III. Strategies for Control: An Economic Simulation Study

The cotton-pink bollworm model and the management model developed by Stone and Gutierrez (I and II of this series) are used to evaluate different strategies for controlling pink bollworm in the southwestern desert. Pesticide sprays based on an ultraconservative economic threshold of 2 percent infested bolls are found to be the most profitable in the absence of penalties for heavy insecticide use. Insecticide sprayed on thresholds over 8 percent infested bolls did not control pink bollworm.

Pheromone in combination with insecticide greatly enhanced profits and was the best workable strategy tested since a 2 percent threshold is probably too difficult to sample accurately in the field. The efficacy of using early season insecticide applications at and before the first hostable squares are present is discussed, as is the possible impact of early season insecticide applications on beneficial insect populations.

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