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Control failures following insecticide applications in commercial agriculture: How often do they occur? A case study of Lygus hesperus control in cotton

Citation

Rosenheim, Jay (2021), Control failures following insecticide applications in commercial agriculture: How often do they occur? A case study of Lygus hesperus control in cotton, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.25338/B8XC92

Abstract

Although surveys of pest populations documenting evolved insecticide resistance often suggest abundant potential for insecticide control failures, studies documenting the actual occurrence of such failures in commercial agriculture are rare.  If farmers currently practice adaptive management, abandoning the use of insecticides once resistance emerges, actual control failures could be rare.  Here I use data gathered by independent pest management consultants to describe a case study of the realized efficacy of commercial field applications of insecticides, examining the control of Lygus hesperus (Hemiptera: Miridae) on cotton.  On average, insecticides reduced target pest populations to 19% of their pre-application densities.  Short-term efficacy of insecticides was variable, but only one severe control failure was observed (1 of 50, 2%).  The rarity of severe control failures observed in this study is in agreement with the few other studies conducted in commercial settings, but additional research is needed to assess the generality of this result.  Although pesticides can cause longer-term problems, including target pest resurgences and secondary pest outbreaks, risk-averse attitudes among farmers coupled with relatively consistent short-term insecticide efficacy may be potent forces propelling farmers towards the use of insecticides.

Here I present data gathered by independent pest management consultants that were used to calculate the realized efficacy of commercial field applications of insecticides, examining the control of Lygus hesperus on cotton.  There are no legal or ethical considerations surrounding reuse of these data.

The associated metadata file provides explanations for each of the columns of data.  Notably, I include both the individual, raw sweep sample counts as well as the mean density estimates that were obtained by averaging across those sweep samples.

 

Location:  San Joaquin Valley, California, United States of America.

Methods

These data were collected by an independent pest management consultant and the summer field scouts that he hired to sample populations of Lygus hesperus in commercial cotton fields being grown in the San Joaquin Valley of California.  Sampling was performed with a sweep net.  I have not processed the data beyond computing means and associated confidence intervals.

Usage Notes

The metadata explaining each column in the dataset is attached to the main data file as a second sheet (see tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet).

Funding

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Award: 2015-70006-24164: NIFA