Kaolin as a management alternative for insecticide-resistant navel orangeworm (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)

Daniel S Bush, Mark Demkovich, Moiravi Aldunate, Joel Siegel, May R Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The production of almonds and pistachios in California’s Central Valley employs insecticides for the management of their primary pest, navel orangeworm.The pyrethroid Bifenthrin is commonly used, and now a strain of Amyelois transitella Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) (R347) obtained from Kern County almond orchards with a history of Bifenthrin use has acquired >110-fold resistance toward pyrethroids. One method to improve control is to use additives and spray adjuvants, which are applied simultaneously with an insecticide to increase coverage and/or duration of control. We tested 2 levels of the naturally occurring clay Kaolin as an additive, alone and in combination with either Bifenthrin or the diamide Chlorantraniliprole, to determine if it could reduce feeding damage and decrease survival of pyrethroid-resistant A. transitella on almonds in the laboratory and improve the efficacy of Chlorantraniliprole in the field. Larval performance was measured for the strains R347 and ALM (34.7-fold resistance compared to susceptible lab strain) reared on treated almonds. Strain R347 had 1.9-fold greater survival and caused 1.3-fold more feeding damage than strain ALM across all treatments, although both strains were susceptible to the combination of Kaolin + insecticide. Kaolin synergized Bifenthrin for R347, decreasing survival by 10.0%. Kaolin did not reduce feeding damage for either strain. When combined with insecticide, feeding damage was similar to insecticide alone, but the addition of Kaolin to the insecticide generally decreased survival more than the insecticide alone. In the field, the addition of Kaolin to Chlorantraniprole during application helped retain activity against this challenging pest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbertoad194
Pages (from-to)2095-2103
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number6
Early online dateNov 8 2023
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023


  • resistance
  • chlorantraniliprole
  • bifenthrin
  • pyrethroid
  • kaolin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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