Integrated Systems for Control of the Pink Bollworm Pectinophora gossypiella in Cotton

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The pink bollworm Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders) is a major pest of cotton Gossypium spp. in the growing areas of the south-western USA and in many other cotton-producing areas of the world. High chemical control costs, excessive economic losses, secondary pest problems, and environmental and social considerations have suggested the need for ecologically oriented pink bollworm management strategies. Extensive research over the years has produced monitoring, biological control, cultural, behavioural, genetic and host plant resistance methods that can be integrated into effective pink bollworm management systems. Pink bollworm moth mobility necessitates integrated pest management (IPM) implementation over large geographical areas. Local uncoordinated efforts have not reduced the economic status of the pink bollworm in any area where it is an established pest. The cotton-growing areas involved in the south-western USA present a wide range of pink bollworm population densities, in cotton production methods, and social and environmental considerations. Tailor-made systems for targeted management areas with the selection of IPM components based on pink bollworm population density, crop production methods, and economic feasibility are the most likely to succeed as long-term population suppression programmes. The breakthrough in host-plant resistance through transformation of the gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Berliner) subsp. kurstaki (Bt) into cotton varieties for the production of insect toxic crystalline protein provided the framework for efficient pink bollworm population management. The success of area-wide pink bollworm management is highly dependent on participation by all segments of the agricultural community in the planning, site selection, implementation, and assessment phases of the programme. A highly effective extension-education communication programme is an essential component. The outstanding performance of Bt-cotton and pheromone behavioural control for pink bollworm, and the availability of historically-proven effective pink bollworm population suppression technologies (cultural controls, crop residue destruction, water management, planting dates, and sterile moth release), encouraged formulation of a multi-agency and transboundary pink bollworm eradication plan. The eradication programme was initiated in 2001-2002 in the El Paso/Trans Pecos area of Texas, in South Central New Mexico and in Chihuahua, Mexico. The results of area-wide suppression have been exceptionally encouraging and provide promising expectations for the other infested areas of the south-western USA and north-western Mexico. The pink bollworm population has been reduced to levels that can be targeted for sterile pink bollworm releases to pursue the goal of eradication.

KEYWORDS Pectinophora gossypiella, area-wide IPM, Bt-cotton, transboundary eradication, south-western USA, north-western Mexico