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Abundance of Frankliniella schultzei (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in Flowers on Major Vegetable Crops of South Florida

Kakkar, Garima, Seal, Dakshina R., Stansly, Philip A., Liburd, Oscar E., Kumar, Vivek
Florida entomologist 2012 v.95 no.2 pp. 468-475
Frankliniella fusca, Frankliniella occidentalis, Frankliniella schultzei, Frankliniella tritici, Thrips palmi, cucumbers, field experimentation, flowers, fruiting, green beans, monitoring, pepper, pest management, pests, squashes, tomatoes, vegetable crops, Florida
The flower thrips, Frankliniella schultzei (Trybom), has only recently been recognized as a pest of vegetable crops in south Florida. Little is known about its abundance and impact on vegetable crops in this region. Therefore, a field experiment was conducted comparing F. schultzei abundance in blooms of the 5 key fruiting vegetable crops grown in south Florida, i.e., cucumber, pepper, snap bean, squash and tomato. Mean number of F schultzei larvae was highest in cucumber flowers (78.1 larvae/5 flowers) and lowest in bean flowers (5.1 larvae/5 flowers). However, adults of F schultzei were most numerous in tomato flowers (27.5 adults/5 flowers) and least numerous in snap bean flowers (3.5 adults/ 5 flowers). Neither larvae nor adults of F. schultzei were found in pepper flowers in the present study. The flower samples collected from 5 vegetable crops were also found to be infested with 3 other thrips species. Amongst these, Thrips palmi Karny was the second most abundant thrips species. Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) was found in low numbers on all crops except pepper, and Frankliniella fusca (Hinds) was found only on tomato. The above information should be useful in the development of monitoring programs, design of pest management strategies and in the timely application of preventive or suppressive measures in south Florida.