Neonicotioids V: Insecticides and Bad Behavior

Living With Insects Blog

The effects of insecticides on insects have been extensively studied. At high enough doses, insects will die. At lower doses, insects may survive, but present physiological and behavioral changes. Insecticides that target the nervous systems of insects can directly affect the ability of insects to properly orient. In the 1980s, I worked for a company that developed pheromones for insect control. We noted that for some pests, pheromones alone would prevent or suppress mating if the pest population was sufficiently low. At high enough pest density, mating was no longer suppressed. However, by sticking a sublethal dose of a pyrethroid insecticide to a pheromone dispenser, mating could be suppressed at higher population densities. In this case, male moths were visiting pheromone dispensers and contacting a dose of insecticide that did not kill the moths. Instead, the pesticide interfered with the ability of the male moth to follow a pheromone plume…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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