Impact of mirid (Creontiades spp.) (Hemiptera: Miridae) pest management on Helicoverpa spp. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) outbreaks: the case for conserving natural enemies



Creontiades spp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) are sucking pests that attack buds, flowers and young pods in mungbeans, Vigna radiata (L.), causing these structures subsequently to abort. If left uncontrolled, mirids can cause 25-50% yield loss. Traditional industry practice has involved prophylactic applications of dimethoate to control mirids at budding and again a week later. The present trial was initiated to highlight the dangers of such a practice, in particular the risk of a subsequent Helicoverpa spp. lepidopteran pest outbreak. A single application of dimethoate halved the population of important natural enemies of Helicoverpa spp., and caused an above-threshold outbreak of Helicoverpa spp. within 11 days. This shows that even a moderate (e.g. 50%) reduction in natural enemies may be sufficient to increase Helicoverpa spp. populations in mungbeans. As a result, prophylactic sprays should not be used for the control of mirids in mungbeans, and dimethoate should be applied only when mirids are above the economic threshold. Indoxacarb was also tested to establish its effect on Helicoverpa spp., mirids and natural enemies. Indoxacarb showed potential for Helicoverpa spp. control and suppression of mirids and had little impact on natural enemies. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry