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Impact of Imidacloprid for Control of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on Nearby Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Assemblages

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Imidacloprid, a systemic insecticide that acts on the nervous system, is currently being used to control hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand), which is damaging hemlock trees. The objective of this study was to determine whether soil injection with imidacloprid for hemlock woolly adelgid control near streams adversely affects aquatic invertebrates. Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) in the watersheds surrounding four streams in the southern Appalachian region of Georgia and North Carolina were treated with imidacloprid. Addie Branch was the only stream that exhibited a possible effect from imidacloprid treatment. However, the data followed the same pattern as the other treatment streams, but with a more pronounced decrease in taxa due to adult emergence. Only a trace amount of imidacloprid was detected in one water sample from Holcomb Tributary over a period of 2 years, and no effect was observed on the aquatic macroinvertebrates in that stream. However, caution should be used when applying these results to other areas with different soil types (e.g., low organic matter content) that may not bind imidacloprid as tightly. Our results indicate that soil injections of imidacloprid can safely be used in the southern Appalachian area to control hemlock woolly adelgid.
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Keywords: aquatic insects; nontarget; pesticides; streams

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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