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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #407501

Research Project: Integrated Approach to Manage the Pest Complex on Temperate Tree Fruits

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Title: Meta-analysis of herbicide non-target effects on pest natural enemies

item Zilnik, Gabriel
item BERGERON, PAUL - Washington State University
item CHUANG, ANGELA - University Of Florida
item DIEPENBROCK, LAUREN - University Of Florida
item HANEL, ALDO - Washington State University
item MIDDLETON, ERIC - University Of California - Cooperative Extension Service
item Moretti, Erica
item Schmidt, Rebecca

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/18/2023
Publication Date: 9/26/2023
Citation: Zilnik, G.L., Bergeron, P., Chuang, A., Diepenbrock, L., Hanel, A., Middleton, E., Moretti, E.A., Schmidt-Jeffris, R.A. 2023. Meta-analysis of herbicide non-target effects on pest natural enemies. Insects. 14(10);787.

Interpretive Summary: Reducing the use of pesticides that harm natural enemies of crop pests is important to pest management. Currently, there is limited information on how herbicides might affect natural enemies. Researchers from USDA-ARS in Wapato, WA, Washington State University, University of Florida, and University of California Cooperative Extension carried out an analysis of existing data to determine how herbicides effect natural enemies and which herbicides were the most harmful. The researchers found that herbicides increased natural enemy mortality and reduced their longevity and efficacy as predators. Some potential glyphosate replacement herbicides were more harmful than glyphosate. There was little or no data available for many herbicides and beneficial insects, indicating that much more research is needed on this topic.

Technical Abstract: A critical component of integrated pest management is minimizing disruption of biological control by reducing use of pesticides with significant non-target effects on natural enemies. Insecticide non-target effects testing for natural enemies has become increasingly common, but research examining the non-target effects of herbicides on natural enemies is scarce and recommendations regarding herbicide selectivity are non-existent. We used meta-analysis to summarize laboratory bioassays testing non-target effects of herbicides on arthropod natural enemies and identify patterns in taxon susceptibility and active ingredient toxicity. Data was extracted from 103 papers representing 801 total observations. Herbicides increased natural enemy mortality and decreased longevity, reproduction, and predation. Mesostigmatan mites and hemipterans were the most sensitive to herbicides and spiders, neuropterans, and hymenopterans were the least sensitive. Mortality was higher in juvenile predators versus parasitoids, but did not differ between adults; parasitoid juveniles are likely better protected within the host. In terms of acute mortality, metribuzin, glufosinate, and oxyfluorfen were the most harmful herbicides. Only nicosulfuron, rimsulfuron, pendimethalin, phenmedipham, atrazine, and urea did not increase natural enemy mortality. The large effect size of glufosinate is particularly concerning, as it is the most likely replacement herbicide for glyphosate in many crops. Many active ingredients remain under-studied. Our analysis indicates that herbicides have a strong potential to disrupt biological control in cropping systems.