Single aerial applications of Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt) to control infestations of the eastern spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana Clemens) have had varied operational success. Double applications are too expensive for general use, but might prove useful if directed to areas where the initial application was unsuccessful. This requires forecasts of the efficacy of the initial application in operational spray blocks within 4–5 days.
Data were collected in 30 spray blocks in 1989 in a feasibility study to determine if such forecasts of spray efficacy could be made from the prespray budworm population density, N0, and from the proportion of the population that had ingested a lethal dose Bt within 2 days of application, M. A mathematical model forecasting the postspray budworm population density, NF, was derived from population-dynamic considerations and fitted (r2 = 0.48, p < 0.0001):
The proportion of current foliage defoliated, D, depended (r = 0.81) on N0 and on whether the block was sprayed (I = 0) or not (I = 1):
Only one measure of defoliation involved M in any statistically significant way. The predicted (from values of N0) proportion of defoliation prevented by Bt application, dD, was weakly (r2 = 0.25, p = 0.002) related to M:
The large proportion of the variation in efficacy that remains unexplained by the models involving M limits the operational utility of this approach as it now stands for specific sites. The potential for further development of these models as decision support tools for fairly large spray blocks is discussed in terms of improving the sampling plan and including additional predictor variables.
Methods are also presented that reduce bias in calculations of population reduction (Abbott 1925) and foliage protection when data are available from few control and many treatment blocks.