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Huangjun Lu, Alan L. Wright, and David Sui

Banded cucumber beetle [BCB (Diabrotica balteata)], serpentine leafminer [SL (Liriomyza trifolii)], and aphids (Homoptera: Aphididae) are among the major insect pests that cause significant economic damage to lettuce (Lactuca sativa) in southern Florida. Four romaine cultivars and three iceberg cultivars, currently used in Florida's lettuce production, were evaluated from Oct. 2010 to Jan. 2011 in separate field experiments for their responses to insect infestation. Lettuce cultivars differed significantly in their responses to infestations of BCB and aphids. Cultivar 70096 had the lowest percent (3.7%) of BCB feeding damage among the romaine cultivars. Romaine cultivar Manatee also had significantly lower BCB feeding damage (12.1%) than the susceptible cultivars Okeechobee (19.8%) and Terrapin (19.1%). The lowest level of infestation of aphids was observed on ‘Manatee’, followed by ‘70096’, whereas ‘Okeechobee’ and ‘Terrapin’ had severe infestation of aphids. The iceberg cultivars were similar to one another in their responses to BCB and SL but not in their response to aphid infestation. Yield was decreased from 3% to 37% for six of the seven cultivars grown under the adverse environmental conditions of insect infestations and cold weather in Dec. 2010, but the yield of ‘70096’ did not decline. The cultivars identified as resistant to insects can play an important role in integrated pest management (IPM), which may decrease pesticide application, reduce production costs, and protect the environment.