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Keywords:

  • Aphis gossypii;
  • color;
  • Gossypium hirsutum;
  • parasites;
  • temperature;
  • Homoptera;
  • Aphididae

Abstract

Highly reflective white kaolin-based particle film was sprayed on cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L. (Malvaceae), plots in south Texas during 2004 and 2005 to observe its effect on the cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii Glover (Homoptera: Aphididae). Populations of cotton aphids on the ventral surfaces of leaves in the kaolin-treated plots were greater than in non-treated control plots during both years. Alate cotton aphids were attracted less to white than to other pan trap colors, and parasitism by Lysiphlebus spec. (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae) was either unaffected or greater in the kaolin-treated plots, hence these two factors (color and parasitism) do not explain the increased infestations in the treated plots. However, mean temperatures on the ventral surfaces of kaolin-treated cotton leaves were cooler than those of control leaves. The observed temperature difference where cotton aphids reside on cotton leaves is a potential reason for the greater infestations in the kaolin treatment plots. Our study demonstrates that applications of kaolin can exacerbate a pest infestation in cotton.