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Effect of Pesticides on Adult Rove Beetle Atheta coriaria (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) Survival in Growing Medium

Raymond A. Cloyd, Nicholas R. Timmons, Jessica M. Goebel, Kenneth E. Kemp
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/029.102.0504 1750-1758 First published online: 1 October 2009


The rove beetle Atheta coriaria (Kraatz) (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) is a natural enemy (biological control agent) commercially available for control of certain greenhouse insect pests, including fungus gnats, shore flies, and thrips. This study assessed the compatibility of pesticides (insecticides and fungicides) used in greenhouses with A. coriaria adults. Treatments were applied to 473-ml deli squat containers half-filled with a growing medium. We evaluated the effects of the pesticides when releases of A. coriaria adults were performed both before and after application of the designated pesticide solutions. All three of the neonicotinoid-based insecticides (clothianidin, dinotefuran, and thiamethoxam) were directly harmful to A. coriaria adults with ≤3.2 adults recovered (out of 20) among all three treatments across all experiments. In addition, the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos at the low (0.25 fl oz/100 gal) and high (0.50 fl oz/100 gal) label rates; the plant-derived essential oil product (Indoor Pharm) containing soybean and rosemary oil; and the insecticide/miticide chlorfenpyr were directly harmful to A. coriaria adults with recovery rates ≤8.6 (out of 20) among all the treatments. The fungicides (azoxystrobin, fosetyl-aluminum, and mefenoxam) were not directly toxic to A. coriaria adults, with ≥17.7 adults recovered (out of 20) across all experiments. The insecticides (Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis, flonicamid, Metarhizium anisopliae strain52, and spinosad) and insect growth regulator azadirachtin were also not directly toxic to A. coriaria adults. Furthermore, many of these same treatments did not inhibit the ability of adult A. coriaria to consume fungus gnat (Bradysia sp. nr. coprophila) larvae in a feeding behavior experiment. Although the neonicotinoid-based insecticides were directly harmful to adult A. coriaria, when adults were released 48, 72, or 96 h after application, survival increased dramatically over time. This study has quantitatively demonstrated that certain pesticides (both insecticides and fungicides) are compatible with and can be used along with A. coriaria in systems that use this natural enemy to manage fungus gnat larvae.

  • survival
  • insecticides
  • fungicides
  • compatibility
  • Dalotia

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