Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) larvae were collected from field crops and wild hosts in India, Nepal and Pakistan from 1991 to 1995, and ninety eight laboratory cultures established. Cypermethrin, fenvalerate, endosulfan, quinalphos, monocrotophos and methomyl insecticides were topically applied to 30–40 mg, first laboratory generation larvae and resistance determined from log dose probit bioassays. Significant levels of cypermethrin and fenvalerate resistance were found in all field strains, demonstrating that resistance to at least some pyrethroids is now ubiquitous in H. armigera populations in the Indian subcontinent; cypermethrin and fenvalerate resistance levels ranged from 5– to 6500–fold and 16– to 3200–fold respectively. Pyrethroid resistance levels were highest in the intensive cotton and pulse growing regions of central and southern India where excessive application of insecticide is common. In all field strains assayed, pre-treatment with the metabolic synergist piperonyl butoxide (pbo), resulted in significant suppression of pyrethroid resistance. However, in nearly all cases, full suppression of resistance was not achieved. This residual non-pbo-suppressible resistance was most likely due to a nerve-insensitivity resistance mechanism. Pbo-insensitive resistance was highest in regions of India where insecticides were frequently applied to cotton and legume crops. In some regions where insecticides were heavily overused, a second high order nerve-insensitivity mechanism (possibly a Super -Kdr type mechanism), may have been present. Incipient endosulfan resistance (1–28-fold), was present throughout India, Nepal and Pakistan. Low to moderate levels of resistance (2–59–fold), were reported to the phosphorothionate group organophosphate, quinalphos, in India and Pakistan, but there was no evidence of significant resistance (0.4–3–fold), to the phosphate group organophosphate, monocrotophos, under our bioassay conditions between 1993 and 1994. H. armigera strains collected in Nepal in 1993 and 1994 were susceptible to quinalphos, but by 1995, 4–5–fold resistance was detected. It is probable that much of the resistance to pyrethroid, organophosphate and carbamate insecticides in the Indian subcontinent can be attributed to an inherited or inducible mixed function oxidase complex. Non-pbo-suppressible resistance becomes significant in regions and periods in the season when insecticide selection pressure on resistant H. armigera larvae on cotton and legume crops is very high.
Bulletin of Entomological Research (1996) 86 (5) 499-514 [DOI: 10.1017/S0007485300039298]