The sugarcane spittlebug, Mahanarva fimbriolata (Stål), is currently one of the most important pests of the sugarcane crop in Brazil. In spite of its economic importance, advances in the management of this pest have been limited by the lack of information on the economic injury level. In this study, the economic injury level for M. fimbriolata was estimated in a field experiment, over areas harvested in September, applying thiamethoxam at 200 g a.i. ha-1 or imidacloprid at 720 g a.i. ha-1. In one of the experiments, insecticide applications were made at pest infestation values of 4.2 (11/12/04), 7.1 (01/11/05), or 16.3 (01/18/05) insects m-1, and in experiment 2 when pest populations were 5.6 (11/12/04), 8.5 (01/11/05), or 15.3 (01/11/05) insects m-1. Control plots without insecticide were maintained. After the applications, spittlebug infestations were estimated monthly, and the experiments were harvested in September 2005. Spittlebug control with the application of insecticides resulted in stalk and sugar yield increases in relation to the control, for both experiments. Applications performed under smaller infestations resulted in higher yields than applications made under higher populations. There were no differences between insecticides in one of the experiments; in the other, however, thiamethoxan contributed to greater yield increases than imidacloprid. Insecticide applications made under lower infestations resulted in greater profits. Regression analyses allowed the estimation of the pest economic injury level to be between 2 to 3 insects m-1 for the conditions of this experiment.
pest; management; control