Dengue virus, primarily transmitted by the Aedes aegypti (L.) mosquito, has rapidly expanded in geographic extent over the past several decades. In some areas, however, dengue fever has not emerged despite established Ae. aegypti populations. The reasons for this are unclear and have sometimes been attributed to socio-economic differences. In 2013 we compared Ae. aegypti adult density and population age structure between two cities in Sonora, Mexico: Hermosillo, which has regular seasonal dengue virus transmission, and Nogales, which has minimal transmission. Larval and pupal abundance was greater in Nogales, and adult density was only higher in Hermosillo during September. Population age structure, however, was consistently older in Hermosillo. This difference in longevity may have been one factor that limited dengue virus transmission in Nogales in 2013, as a smaller proportion of Ae. aegypti females survived past the extrinsic incubation period.
Extensive cultivation of crops genetically engineered to produce insecticidal proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has suppressed some major pests, reduced insecticide sprays, enhanced pest control by natural enemies, and increased grower profits. However, these benefits are being eroded by evolution of resistance in pests. We report a strategy for combating resistance by crossing transgenic Bt plants with conventional non-Bt plants and then crossing the resulting first-generation (F1) hybrid progeny and sowing the second-generation (F2) seeds. This strategy yields a random mixture within fields of three-quarters of plants that produce Bt toxin and one-quarter that does not. We hypothesized that the non-Bt plants in this mixture promote survival of susceptible insects, thereby delaying evolution of resistance. To test this hypothesis, we compared predictions from computer modeling with data monitoring pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella) resistance to Bt toxin Cry1Ac produced by transgenic cotton in an 11-y study at 17 field sites in six provinces of China. The frequency of resistant individuals in the field increased before this strategy was widely deployed and then declined after its widespread adoption boosted the percentage of non-Bt cotton plants in the region. The correspondence between the predicted and observed outcomes implies that this strategy countered evolution of resistance. Despite the increased percentage of non-Bt cotton, suppression of pink bollworm was sustained. Unlike other resistance management tactics that require regulatory intervention, growers adopted this strategy voluntarily, apparently because of advantages that may include better performance as well as lower costs for seeds and insecticides.
The cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV) transmitted by Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) has caused significant reductions in fall melon (Cucumis melo L.) yields in Yuma County, Arizona. In a recent landscape-based study, we found evidence that cotton and spring melon fields increased abundance of B. tabaci and spread of CYSDV infection in fall melon fields. Here, we show that a statistical model derived from data collected in 2011-2012 and based on areas of cotton and spring melon fields located within 1,500 m from edges of fall melon fields was sufficient to retrospectively predict incidence of CYSDV infection in fall melon fields during 2007-2010. Nevertheless, the slope of the association between areas of spring melon fields and incidence of CYSDV infection was three times smaller in 2007-2010 than in 2011-2012, whereas the slope of the association between areas of cotton fields and incidence of CYSDV infection was consistent between study periods. Accordingly, predictions were more accurate when data on areas of cotton alone were used as a basis for prediction than when data on areas of cotton and spring melons were used. Validation of this statistical model confirms that crop isolation has potential for reducing incidence of CYSDV infection in fall melon fields in Yuma County, although isolation from cotton may provide more consistent benefits than isolation from spring melon.