Dynamics of biotypes B and Q of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci and its impact on insecticide resistance




The whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) is a key pest in many agricultural crops, including vegetables, ornamentals and field crops. B. tabaci is known for its genetic diversity, which is expressed in a complex of biotypes or, as recently suggested, a complex of distinct cryptic species. The biotypes are largely differentiated on the basis of biochemical or molecular polymorphism and differ in characteristics such as host plant range, attraction by natural enemies, secondary symbionts and expression of insecticide resistance. An extensive survey of B. tabaci biotypes and their impact on insecticide resistance was conducted from 2003 to 2012 in cotton fields and other crops from several locations in Israel.


Two biotypes of B. tabaci, B and Q, were identified, and some differences in the biotype dynamics were recorded from different areas. In northern Israel from 2003 to 2007, a higher proportion of the B biotype was consistently found in early season. However, by the end of the season a definite rise of the Q biotype was sampled, ranging from 60 to 100%, along with high resistance to the insect growth regulator (IGR) pyriproxyfen and to a lesser extent to the neonicotinoid insecticides. In fields located in the central part of Israel, the Q biotype was predominant throughout the seasons, with high resistance to pyriproxyfen. Since 2009, a significant shift in the biotype ratios has been observed: the B biotype has come to predominate over the Q biotype ranging up to 90% or more in most fields. At the same time, resistance to the IGR pyriproxyfen was reduced considerably.


The possible reasons for the change in the dynamics of B. tabaci biotypes, and its implications for resistance management, are discussed. Strong B. tabaci resistance to pyriproxyfen in Israel has been associated with the Q rather than with the B biotype. The B biotype is more competitive than the Q biotype under untreated conditions. Reduction in the acreage of cotton fields during recent years, along with a decrease in insecticide use, especially pyriproxyfen, has resulted in the expansion of the B biotype. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry