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  • Using organic-certified rather than synthetic pesticides may not be safer for biological control agents: selectivity and side effects of 14 pesticides on the predator Orius laevigatus.

Using organic-certified rather than synthetic pesticides may not be safer for biological control agents: selectivity and side effects of 14 pesticides on the predator Orius laevigatus.

Chemosphere (2012-02-22)
Antonio Biondi, Nicolas Desneux, Gaetano Siscaro, Lucia Zappalà
ABSTRACT

The generalist predator Orius laevigatus (Fieber) (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) is a key natural enemy of various arthropods in agricultural and natural ecosystems. Releases of this predator are frequently carried out, and it is included in the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs of several crops. The accurate assessment of the compatibility of various pesticides with predator activity is key for the success of this strategy. We assessed acute and sublethal toxicity of 14 pesticides on O. laevigatus adults under laboratory conditions. Pesticides commonly used in either conventional or organic farming were selected for the study, including six biopesticides, three synthetic insecticides, two sulfur compounds and three adjuvants. To assess the pesticides' residual persistence, the predator was exposed for 3d to pesticide residues on tomato sprouts that had been treated 1 h, 7 d or 14 d prior to the assay. The percentage of mortality and the sublethal effects on predator reproductive capacity were summarized in a reduction coefficient (E(x)) and the pesticides were classified according to the IOBC (International Organization for Biological Control) toxicity categories. The results showed that the pesticides greatly differed in their toxicity, both in terms of lethal and sub lethal effects, as well as in their persistence. In particular, abamectin was the most noxious and persistent, and was classified as harmful up to 14 d after the treatment, causing almost 100% mortality. Spinosad, emamectin, metaflumizone were moderately harmful until 7 d after the treatment, while the other pesticides were slightly harmful or harmless. The results, based on the combination of assessment of acute mortality, predator reproductive capacity pesticides residual and pesticides residual persistence, stress the need of using complementary bioassays (e.g. assessment of lethal and sublethal effects) to carefully select the pesticides to be used in IPM programs and appropriately time the pesticides application (as function of natural enemies present in crops) and potential releases of natural enemies like O. laevigatus.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Supelco
Abamectin, PESTANAL®, analytical standard