Comparison of the Toxicity to Insects of Certain Insecticides Applied by Contact and in the Soil1

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The toxicity of 9 insecticides relative to a standard insecticide (dieldrin = 1.00) was determined: a) by direct application of the insecticides to the test insects using a Potter spray tower; and b) by exposing the test insects to insecticidal residues incorporated into a fieldmoist Beverly fine sandy loam. First-instar nymphs of the common field cricket, Gryllus pennsylvanicus (Burmeister) , were used as test insects. The relative toxicity of the insecticides when applied as contact sprays was parathion 2.72, mevinphos (Phosdrin®) 2.70, Zectran® (4- dimethylamino-3,5-xylyl methylcarbamate) 2.32, aldrin 0.50, diazinon 0.44, heptachlor 0.42, DDT 0.19, chlordane 0.10, trichlorfon (Dylox® ) 0.09. When applied to the soil the relative toxicities were aldrin 2.13, heptachlor 2.00, diazinon 0.64, parathion 0.50, chlordane 0.41, DDT 0.10, Zectran 0.04, trichlorfon 0.017, and mevinphos 0.0084. Aldrin, heptachlor, and chlordane were approximately 4 times as toxic in soil as compared with the direct contact application, diazinon 1.5 times as toxic, DDT 0.5 as toxic, parathion and trichlorfon approximately 5 times less toxic, Zectran 58 times less toxic, and mevinphos 320 times less toxic.

Experiments with fumigant toxicity indicated that, at the concentrations used, all the materials with the exception of DDT volatilized from a metal surface to an extent sufficient to cause 95% to 100% fumigant mortality over a 24-hr period. When equivalent amounts of insecticide were incorporated into the soil aldrin, heptachlor, chlordane, trichlorfon, and mevinphos were moderately volatile. Diazinon, parathion, and dieldrin were less volatile, while Zectran and DDT were virtually nonvolatile.

It was suggested that the effectiveness of the cyclodiene insecticides aldrin and heptachlor in soils is due to the fact that they act as both contact and fumigant poisons; that diazinon and parathion were more strongly adsorbed by soil than the cyclodiene insecticides, thus rendering them less effective as both contact and fumigant poisons; and that the low toxicity of mevinphos and trichlorfon could be attributed to the influence of soil moisture.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1964

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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