Effects of a Naturally Occurring and a Synthetic Synergist on Toxicity of Three Insecticides and a Phytochemical to Navel Orangeworm (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)

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The navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), is the most destructive lepidopteran pest of almonds [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A.Webb] and pistachios (Pistacia vera L.) in California and is a serious problem in figs (Ficus carica L.) and walnuts (Juglans spp.). In addition to direct damage, larval feeding leaves nuts vulnerable to infection by Aspergillus spp., fungi that produce toxic aflatoxins. A potentially safe and sustainable approach for managing navel orangeworm in orchards may be to use natural essential oil synergists to interfere with this insect's ability to detoxify insecticides and phytochemicals. We tested the effects of a naturally occurring plant-derived chemical, myristicin, and a synthetic inhibitor of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s), piperonyl butoxide, on the toxicity of three insecticides (α-cypermethrin, τ-fluvalinate, and methoxyfenozide [Intrepid]) and a phytochemical (xanthotoxin) to A. transitella. Piperonyl butoxide significantly synergized α-cypermethrin and τ-fluvalinate, whereas myristicin synergized only α-cypermethrin. Piperonyl butoxide synergized the toxicity of xanthotoxin as early as 72 h after exposure, whereas myristicin synergized xanthotoxin after 120 h. In view of these findings and the limited availability of environmentally safe synthetic insecticides for sustainable management, particularly in organic orchards, myristicin is a potential field treatment in combination with insecticides to reduce both navel orangeworm survival and aflatoxin contamination of nuts. In addition, this study demonstrates that in A. transitella the insect growth regulator methoxyfenozide is not detoxified by P450s.

Keywords: Amyelois transitella; cytochrome P450 monooxygenase; insecticide; myristicin; synergist

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC10194

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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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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