BACKGROUND: In precision integrated pest management, management tactics are implemented only where and when needed, by identifying the sites where the pest population has reached economic thresholds. Tomato, Solanum lycopersicum (Linn.), is a vegetable cultivated worldwide, but its production is reduced by insect pests such as the whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Genn.). To improve management, there is a need to understand B. tabaci spatial dynamics in tomato fields, which will elucidate colonization patterns and may improve management of this pest. Thus, this study was conducted to assess the spatial autocorrelation, distribution, and colonization patterns of B. tabaci in 19 commercial tomato fields through the growing season. RESULTS: A total of 69 isotropic variograms were fit for B. tabaci. The insect distribution was aggregated with a strong level of spatial dependence. Ranges of spatial dependence varied from 0.53 to 19.05 m and 0.5 to 20 m for adults and nymphs, respectively. Overall, densities of adults and nymphs were higher and reached the economic threshold mainly at the field edges. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest a colonization pattern for B. tabaci starting at the edges and spreading inwards in to the tomato fields. This study can improve B. tabaci management in tomato fields, especially scouting and decision-making to treat fields. Scouting for this pest should be directed to the field edges, with sample points at least 20 m apart from each other for independent insect counts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brasil (CAPES) – Finance Code 001 and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). The authors also thank Dr Ian MacRae for insightful discussions about spatial aspects of pest management.
- spatiotemporal distribution