Neonicotinoid insecticides (NIs) have been recently banned in some countries because of increased pest resistance and deleterious risks to non-target organisms. Recent studies considered all parts of crops as a whole part in plant protection. However, there are few reports focused on the distribution and metabolic trends of NIs on target feeding sites of different pests in apple orchards. The spatial and temporal distribution, absorption, degradation, and metabolism of three NIs, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, and thiamethoxam, on different parts of apple trees were studied under foliar spray and root irrigation treatments. In the spray treatment, the initial average concentration ratios (TCRs) were 31.6% for lower shoots, 23.3% for upper leaves, 23.2% for upper shoots, 21.0% for lower leaves, and 0.5% and 0.4% for upper and lower fruits, respectively. The average half-lives of the three NIs were 2.9 days for shoots, 7.4 days for leaves, and 10.8 days for fruits. The degradation rate of shoots was 2.5 times that of leaves, and 3.6 times that of fruits. Imidacloprid olefin and N-methyl acetamiprid were two of the main metabolites. In the root treatment, both roots and soils had high TCRs during the whole sampling period. Only imidacloprid was transmitted to above-ground parts of the plants, with TCRs of 0.38-50.94%. This study found significant differences in spatial and temporal distribution, degradation, metabolism, and trends of NIs on different pest target sites of apple trees. The data obtained may help promote scientific control of target pests and evaluation of safety for non-target species in orchards. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry.
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