Lethal and Sublethal Effects of Flupyradifurone on Bemisia tabaci MED (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) Feeding Behavior and TYLCV Transmission in Tomato

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Pesticides primarily affect target organisms via direct toxicity, but may also alter the feeding behaviors of surviving individuals in ways that alter their effect on host plants. The latter impact is especially important when pests can transmit plant pathogens. The Mediterranean (MED) population of the sweetpotato whitefly Bemisia tabaci Gennadius (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) transmits Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), a pathogen that can be economically devastating in field and greenhouse cropping systems. We first assessed the impact of sublethal (LC15) and label concentrations of flupyradifurone, a butenolide-derived insecticide, on the feeding behavior of TYLCV-infected MED on tomato. We next measured the effect of flupyradifurone on plant TYLCV load, vector transmission efficiency, and MED survival. Both the LC15 and label flupyradifurone concentrations dramatically altered MED feeding and caused the near cessation of both salivation and phloem ingestion (necessary for viral transmission and acquisition, respectively). Both concentrations also significantly reduced plant TYLCV load, and the label rate of flupyradifurone sharply decreased TYLCV transmission while killing >99% of MED. As the first report of pesticide-induced changes in the feeding behavior of viruliferous Bemisia, our findings highlight the potential importance of chemically driven feeding cessation in the control of TYLCV and other Bemisia-transmitted plant pathogens.

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Journal of economic entomology