Relative Significance of Direct Ingestion and Adult-Mediated Translocation of Bait to German Cockroach (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae) Nymphs

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A novel experimental design that selectively excluded feeding of adults or nymphs on insecticidal baits was used to distinguish mortality caused by ingestion of bait from mortality caused by horizontal transfer of insecticide by foraging to non foraging cockroaches. In large cage laboratory assays and in apartments, exposure of Blattella germanica (L.) to an insecticidal bait containing hydramethylnon resulted in high mortality in adult females and 1st instars. However, exclusion of adult females from feeding on the bait resulted in a significant decline in mortality among nymphs, suggesting that neonate mortality was caused primarily by adult-mediated horizontal toxicant transfer through feces. A reciprocal experiment provided support for this hypothesis: Adult females with access to bait transferred insecticide to neonates that were prevented from feeding on bait, resulting in high mortality in both groups. Conversely, mortality among 2nd instars was high and significantly less dependent on adult foraging, suggesting a shift to active foraging (i.e., direct ingestion of bait) during the 2nd stadium. We conclude that horizontal toxicant transfer is a key factor in suppression of cockroach pest populations. Small nymphs, especially 1st instars, which forage infrequently and are therefore least vulnerable to direct contact with insecticides, are most susceptible to this type of insecticide translocation. Horizontal toxicant transfer should be optimized to deliver insecticides and pathogens to nonforaging stages of B. germanica.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1997

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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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