# Sequential and Binomial Sampling Plans to Estimate Thrips tabaci Population Density on Onion

Colegio de Postgraduados, Posgrado en Fitosanidad-Entomología y Acarología, Montecillo, Texcoco 56230, Estado de Mexico, Mexico

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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Academic Editors: Rosemary Collier, Rita Marullo, Gregorio Vono and Carmelo Peter Bonsignore

Received: 22 December 2020 / Revised: 10 March 2021 / Accepted: 14 March 2021 / Published: 8 April 2021

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic Pest Thrips: Biology, Ecology, and Population Genetics)

## Simple Summary

Thrips are tiny insects that cause significant damage to onion crops worldwide. They feed on the plants and can also transmit plant viral diseases. To prevent damage, it is necessary to estimate the population density (average number of insects per plant), through periodic sampling, and to apply a combination of control tactics to maintain thrips at acceptable levels. Conventional sampling methods are precise but require large investments of time and effort. In this study, binomial and sequential sampling plans were developed to estimate thrips population density in a precise and less time-consuming manner. More than 50 onion plots were sampled, and

*Thrips tabaci*Lindeman was identified as the predominant pest species. The sampling plans reached acceptable levels of precision (*D*= 0.25) in less time than conventional sampling. Binomial and sequential sampling plans were reliable and easily implemented in practice, but sequential sampling showed better performance than binomial sampling under different field conditions. These findings may help to reduce time and work for*T. tabaci*sampling and, consequently, improve implementation of crop protection tactics on onion.
Thrips tabaci Lindeman is a worldwide onion pest that causes economic losses of 10–60%, depending on many factors. Population sampling is essential for applying control tactics and preventing damage by the insect. Conventional sampling methods are criticized as time consuming, while fixed-precision binomial and sequential sampling plans may allow reliable estimations with a more efficient use of time. The aim of this work was to develop binomial and sequential sampling for fast reliable estimation of T. tabaci density on an onion. Forty-one commercial 1.0-ha onion plots were sampled (sample size n = 200) to characterize the spatial distribution of T. tabaci using Taylor’s power law (a = 2.586 and b = 1.511). Binomial and sequential enumerative sampling plans were then developed with precision levels of 0.10, 0.15 and 0.25. Sampling plans were validated with bootstrap simulations (1000 samples) using 10 independent data sets. Bootstrap simulation indicated that precision was satisfactory for all repetitions of the sequential sampling plan, while binomial sampling met the fixed precision in 80% of cases. Both methods reduced sampling time by around 80% relative to conventional sampling. These precise and less time-consuming sampling methods can contribute to implementation of control tactics within the integrated pest management approach.