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Transfer of Ingested Insecticides Among Cockroaches: Effects of Active Ingredient, Bait Formulation, and Assay Procedures

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Foraging cockroaches ingest insecticide baits, translocate them, and can cause mortality in untreated cockroaches that contact the foragers or ingest their excretions. Translocation of eight ingested baits by adult male Blattella germanica (L.) was examined in relation to the type of the active ingredient, formulation, and foraging area. Ingested boric acid, chlorpyrifos, fipronil, and hydramethylnon that were excreted by adults in small dishes killed 100% of first instars within 10 d and >50% of second instars within 14 d. Residues from these ingested baits were also highly effective on nymphs in larger arenas and killed 16–100% of the adults. However, when the baits and dead cockroaches were removed from the large arenas and replaced with new cockroaches, only residues of the slow-acting hydramethylnon killed most of the nymphs and adults, whereas residues of fast acting insecticides (chlorpyrifos and fipronil) killed fewer nymphs and adults. Excretions from cockroaches that ingested abamectin baits failed to cause significant mortality in cockroaches that contacted the residues. These results suggest that hydramethylnon is highly effective in these assays because cockroaches that feed on the bait have ample time to return to their shelter and defecate insecticide-laden feces. The relatively high concentration of hydramethylnon in the bait (2.15%) and its apparent stability in the digestive tract and feces probably contribute to the efficacy of hydramethylnon. To control for differences among baits in inert ingredients and the amount of active ingredient, we compared 1% chlorpyrifos with 1% hydramethylnon in identical baits. Again, hydramethylnon residues provided greater secondary kill, but the results highlighted the importance of the inert ingredients. We conclude that, in the absence of cannibalism and necrophagy, translocation of baits and secondary kill are most effective with slow acting insecticides in palatable baits that can traverse the digestive tract and be deposited within and around the cockroach aggregation.

Keywords: Blattella germanica; bait; coprophagy; horizontal toxicant transfer

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-94.5.1229

Publication date: October 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • 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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