EVALUATING ACEPHATE FOR INSECTICIDE EXCLUSION OF OXYOPS VITIOSA (COLEOPTERA: CURCULIONIDAE) FROM MELALEUCA QUINQUENERVIA
AbstractOne method of evaluating the impact of insect weed biological control agents is to exclude them from their host with insecticides, thereby enabling comparisons of host fitness between infested and non-infested plants. However, the insecticide must not positively or negatively affect the plant being protected. The insecticide acephate was tested for its effects on Oxyops vitiosa Pascoe and Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S. T. Blake. Saplings of M. quinquenervia were sprayed with concentrations of 0, 0.073, 0.36, and 0.73% a.i. acephate every 7, 14, and 21 days. A bioassay using leaves from sprayed plants and third instars of O. vitiosa found reduced defoliation up to 21 days after treatment at the 0.36 and 0.73% concentrations of acephate. There were minor phytotoxic effects on younger, more tender leaves at the 0.73% concentration of acephate which reduced leaf biomass. Acephate can protect M. quinquenervia foliage from O. vitiosa larvae at the 0.36% concentration and spraying every 14 days will not affect the plant.
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