The Influence of Insecticides and Vegetation in Structuring Formica Mound Ant Communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Maine Lowbush Blueberry

Authors: Choate, Beth; Drummond, Francis A.

Source: Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 106, Number 2, Pages 525-1074 , pp. 716-726(11)

Publisher: Entomological Society of America

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Assessing the influence of new, reduced-risk insecticides on natural enemies within agroecosystems is essential to developing integrated pest management strategies. Three species of mound-building Formica ants are abundant throughout Maine lowbush blueberry fields (Formica exsectoides Forel, F. glacialis Wheeler, and F. ulkei Emery). All three species have been described in the literature as predaceous, with research demonstrating that F. exsectoides preys on major pest insects of lowbush blueberry. The objectives of this study were to determine the impact of common-use and newly introduced insecticides on Formica sp. ant communities in lowbush blueberry fields. Laboratory assays indicated that the commonly applied insecticide phosmet is toxic to F. exsectoides, even after 8 d of field weathering (P < 0.05). Species comparisons indicated that susceptibility varied with exposure to residues in the field. However, some of the reduced-risk biorational insecticides, such as acetamiprid, had little effect on survival of all three species. Abundance of each species in the field varied with lowbush blueberry pesticide-use strategy and amount of nonblueberry vegetation. Both F. exsectoides and F. glacialis were most abundant in organic fields; however, overall F. glacialis was the most abundant in fields of all management types. Field surveys support laboratory results suggesting that phosmet is highly toxic to these species and influences their spatial pattern. Manipulation of the crop to conserve natural enemies in lowbush blueberry is difficult because the crop is not planted; therefore, we must look closely at the incorporation of low toxicity insecticides with natural enemies to efficiently control pest insects.

Keywords: Formica sp; blueberry; insecticide toxicity; mound-building ants

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2013

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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