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Action threshold development in cabbage pest management using synthetic and botanical insecticides

Shah, Farhan M.; Razaq, Muhammad; Ali, Qasim; Ali, Abid; Shad, Sarfraz A.; Aslam, Muhammad; Hardy, Ian C. W.


Farhan M. Shah

Muhammad Razaq

Qasim Ali

Abid Ali

Sarfraz A. Shad

Muhammad Aslam

Ian C. W. Hardy


As synthetic insecticides can have environmentally detrimental side effects, it is desirable to limit their use while still achieving good marketable yield. One approach is to apply pesticides only when needed, as determined by an action threshold (AT), defined as the number of pests per crop plant or damage intensity at which application is recommended. Another approach is to adopt alternative pesticides, such as botanical biopesticides, which can also be applied according to ATs. Here, ATs are developed in cabbage pest management using both approaches against the moths Plutella xylostella (L.), Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) and Spodoptera litura (F.) and the aphid Brevicoryne brassicae (L.). Action thresholds were derived using fixed spraying regimes for the synthetic insecticides (imidacloprid and Voliam Flexi) and for azadirachtin, a neem-derived botanical. For synthetics, derived ATs are 40 individuals per plant for B. brassicae, 0.3 larvae for P. xylostella and 0.2 medium-sized larvae for H. armigera and for S. litura. For H. armigera and S. litura, negative relationships between marketable yield and pest were found when larvae were medium or large sized, but not when larvae were small. Compared to synthetics, benefits of using neem formulations include higher action thresholds against P. xylostella (0.6/plant) and H. armigera (0.4/plant) and an oviposition deterrent effect against S. litura. Overall, botanical insecticides were effective alternatives to synthetic pesticides. Although regional limits may apply to the accuracy of any ATs derived, the approach used towards their establishment is simple and transferable to other agricultural regions and crops.


Shah, F. M., Razaq, M., Ali, Q., Ali, A., Shad, S. A., Aslam, M., & Hardy, I. C. W. (2020). Action threshold development in cabbage pest management using synthetic and botanical insecticides. Entomologia Generalis, 40(2), 157-172.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 21, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 3, 2020
Publication Date May 19, 2020
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2020
Publicly Available Date Mar 9, 2020
Journal Entomologia Generalis
Print ISSN 0171-8177
Electronic ISSN 2363-7102
Publisher E Schweizerbart Science Publishers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 2
Pages 157-172
Keywords Insect pests, losses, marketability, larval phenology, oviposition, azadirachtin
Public URL
Publisher URL


Action Threshold Development In Cabbage Pest Management MS (24th July 2019) (1.9 Mb)

Supplementary material. Action threshold development in cabbage pest management using synthetic and botanical insecticides (2.3 Mb)

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