Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 March 2017
Larvae of bollworms (Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner), Earias sp., Diparopsis watersii (Rothschild) and Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders)) feed on cotton flower buds (squares) and developing bolls causing severe yield losses. While endosulfan, an organochlorine insecticide was the most effective and widely used insecticide for bollworm control in Ghana, it has been banned due to abuse and hazard to the environment. Field experiments were conducted during the rainy seasons of 2012 and 2013 to determine the efficacy of foliar insecticides tihan (spirotetramat + flubendiamide), thunder (imidacloprid + betacyfluthrin), belt expert (flubendiamide +thiaclopride), dursban 4EC (chlorpyrifos-ethyl), lambda super 2.5EC (lambda cyhalothrin) and polytrin C (profenophos + cypermethrin) for control of bollworms and their impact on non-target beneficial organisms in Ghana. All the insecticides tested lowered bollworm densities and boll damage but applications of tihan or belt expert alternated with thunder resulted in the highest seed cotton yield. The treatments generally did not lower populations of predators such as ladybird beetles and lacewings and could be included in an integrated pest management programme for bollworms in cotton. These results suggest that alternate applications of tihan or belt expert with thunder can be recommended as a replacement for endosulfan for control of cotton bollworms and improvement of cotton yield in Ghana.