Glover is a major pest of cotton and can severely affect cotton yield and lint quality. In this study, the efficacy of sulfoxaflor applied via drip irrigation and foliar spray on controlling cotton aphids was evaluated in 2016 and 2017 in Xinjiang, China. The distribution of sulfoxaflor in cotton roots, stems, leaves, and aphids, as well as its effects on two natural enemies of aphids, were also investigated. Results showed that sulfoxaflor applied through drip irrigation mainly concentrated in leaves and provided effective control of cotton aphids for 40 days, compared to 20 days when applied through foliar spray. Furthermore, drip application resulted in much lower sulfoxaflor concentrations in aphids than foliar spray. As a result, ladybird beetle and lacewing populations were higher in drip applied plants than in foliar sprayed plants. Additionally, the cost of drip irrigation was lower than foliar spray as cotton plants are commonly irrigated via drip irrigation in Xinjiang. Our results showed that application of sulfoxaflor through drip irrigation is an effective way of controlling cotton aphids in Xinjiang due to a prolonged control period, safety to two natural enemies, and lower cost of application.
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