The pink bollworm (PBW), Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), is the key pest in cotton (Gossypium spp.) production areas in the southwestern United States and in many other cotton-producing areas of the world. The high costs of chemical control, continuing economic losses, secondary pest problems and environmental considerations suggest the need for ecologically oriented PBW management strategies. Extensive research has resulted in a broad array of monitoring, biological control, cultural, behavioural, genetic and host plant resistance methods that can serve as a base for the formulation of integrated PBW management systems. The life history characteristics of the PBW, in particular the high mobility of adults, indicate the need for combinations of selected integrated pest management (IPM) components implemented over large geographical areas. The areas involved present a wide range of PBW population densities, differences in cotton production methods and social and environmental considerations. The best option is tailor-made systems for targeted management areas with the selection of IPM components based on the PBW population density, crop production methods and economic feasibility. The unlikelihood of eradication indicates the need for long-term monitoring and programme maintenance following successful area-wide management. The success of area-wide PBW management is highly dependent on participation in the planning, site selection, implementation and assessment phases of the programme by all segments of the agricultural community. A highly effective extension--education communication programme is an essential component. Local uncoordinated efforts have not reduced the economic status of this pest in any area where it is an established pest. The potential long-term benefits of PBW population suppression on an area-wide basis appear to justify area-wide efforts in terms of reduced costs, more effective control, less environmental contamination and other peripheral problems associated with conventional control approaches.
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