Field ecology of western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis in French bean agroecosystems in Kenya

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Johnson N.O
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Johnson N.O
Western flower thrips (WFT), [Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)], is one of the most important pests of French beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in Kenya. Control of WFT is difficult because it has a wide host range, high reproduction rate, cryptic feeding habit, and ability to pupate in soil. Development of sustainable integrated pest management (IPM) strategies against the WFT requires a sound understanding of its field ecology in terms of colonisation pattern, seasonal abundance, and feeding and oviposition behaviour. An understanding of seasonal abundance of WFT is important in predicting when and where economically damaging populations may occur, understanding how crop damage occurs, planning efficient sampling protocols, and in developing effective management programmes that are area specific. Information on feeding and oviposition preference of WFT is a key research need for formulation of IPM strategies based on manipulation of cropping systems. However, the above named aspects have not been studied in details within French bean fields in Kenya.