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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Lethal and Sublethal Effects of Pesticides on Beneficial Insects: Potential for Development of Resistant Strains

item Elzen, Gary

Submitted to: Congreso Nacional de Entomologia Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 15, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The effects of pesticides upon beneficial insects can be dramatic or quite subtle. Therefore, it is important in examining the possible effects to consider pesticide action causing direct mortality as well as that manifested through sublethal effects. In determining an approach to augmentation of beneficial species, some of the possible effects of pesticides must be considered. The effects can be quite variable and may differ for a particular class of chemicals on a wide range of beneficial species. The development of resistant beneficials is suggested as a possible approach to be used in augmentation of natural enemies; however, this approach remains a challenging problem.

Technical Abstract: The lethal and sublethal effects of pesticides on beneficial insects are reviewed. It is noted that sublethal effects can be manifested in behavioral changes and in physiological alterations. Practical implementation of augmentation of natural enemies may be hindered by the application of pesticides, so that basic toxicological studies may be necessary to determine if natural enemies intended for use in augmentation have some degree of tolerance. Resistance to pesticides may be a useful mechanism to preserve and improve beneficial species to be used in biological control. However, developing a benefical species for increased tolerance to pesticides and further employing such species in augmentation approaches to pest management remains a challenging problem.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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