Effects of irrigation levels on interactions among lygus hesperus (Hemiptera: Miridae), insecticides, and predators in cotton

Peter Asiimwe, Steven E. Naranjo, Peter C. Ellsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Variation in plant quality and natural enemy abundance plays an important role in insect population dynamics. In manipulative field studies, we evaluated the impact of varying irrigation levels and insecticide type on densities of Lygus hesperus Knight and the arthropod predator community in cotton. Three watering levels were established via irrigations timed according to three levels of percent soil water depletion (SWD): 20, 40, or 60, where 40% SWD is considered standard grower practice, 60% represents a deficit condition likely to impose plant productivity losses, and 20% represents surplus conditions with likely consequences on excessive vegetative plant production. The two key L. hesperus insecticides used were the broad-spectrum insecticide acephate and the selective insecticide flonicamid, along with an untreated check. We hypothesized that densities of L. hesperus and its associated predators would be elevated at higher irrigation levels and that insecticides would differentially impact L. hesperus and predator dynamics depending on their selectivity. L. hesperus were more abundant at the higher irrigation level (20% SWD) but the predator densities were unaffected by irrigation levels. Both L. hesperus and its predators were affected by the selectivity of the insecticide with highest L. hesperus densities and lowest predator abundance where the broad spectrum insecticide (acephate) was used. There were no direct interactions between irrigation level and insecticides, indicating that insecticide effects on L. hesperus and its predators were not influenced by the irrigation levels used here. The implications of these findings on the overall ecology of insect-plant dynamics and yield in cotton are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-273
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental entomology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Arthropod predator
  • Cotton
  • Irrigation
  • Lygus hesperus
  • Selective insecticide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of irrigation levels on interactions among lygus hesperus (Hemiptera: Miridae), insecticides, and predators in cotton'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this