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Best Management Practices to Delay the Evolution of Bt Resistance in Lepidopteran Pests Without High Susceptibility to Bt Toxins in North America

Dominic D. Reisig, Chris DiFonzo, Galen Dively, Yasmine Farhan, Jeff Gore, Jocelyn Smith
Journal of economic entomology 2021 v.115 no.1 pp. 26-36
Gossypium hirsutum, Helicoverpa zea, Heliothis, Ostrinia nubilalis, Richia albicosta, Zea mays, commercialization, corn, cotton, cultivars, entomology, evolution, insect resistance, resistance management, toxins, Canada, Southeastern United States
Canadian and United States (US) insect resistance management (IRM) programs for lepidopteran pests in Bacillus thuriengiensis (Bt)-expressing crops are optimally designed for Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner in corn (Zea mays L.) and Chloridea virescens Fabricius in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Both Bt corn and cotton express a high dose for these pests; however, there are many other target pests for which Bt crops do not express high doses (commonly referred to as nonhigh dose pests). Two important lepidopteran nonhigh dose (low susceptibility) pests are Helicoverpa zea Boddie (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Striacosta albicosta Smith (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). We highlight both pests as cautionary examples of exposure to nonhigh dose levels of Bt toxins when the IRM plan was not followed. Moreover, IRM practices to delay Bt resistance that are designed for these two ecologically challenging and important pests should apply to species that are more susceptible to Bt toxins. The purpose of this article is to propose five best management practices to delay the evolution of Bt resistance in lepidopteran pests with low susceptibility to Bt toxins in Canada and the US: 1) better understand resistance potential before commercialization, 2) strengthen IRM based on regional pest pressure by restricting Bt usage where it is of little benefit, 3) require and incentivize planting of structured corn refuge everywhere for single toxin cultivars and in the southern US for pyramids, 4) integrate field and laboratory resistance monitoring programs, and 5) effectively use unexpected injury thresholds.