Direct and indirect effects of imidacloprid on fecundity and abundance of Eurytetranychus buxi (Acari: Tetranychidae) on boxwoods
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- Szczepaniec, A. & Raupp, M.J. Exp Appl Acarol (2013) 59: 307. doi:10.1007/s10493-012-9614-1
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Populations of spider mites often reach high levels on urban plants. In many cases, insecticide applications targeting other herbivores trigger outbreaks of spider mites. Recently, elevated populations of spider mites on a diversity of plants in urban landscapes have been associated with applications of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide. Imidacloprid has also been linked to increased fecundity in two species of spider mites. In this study, we evaluated the indirect (plant-mediated) and direct impact of imidacloprid on fecundity and longevity of Eurytetranychus buxi Garman (Acari: Tetranychidae), feeding on boxwoods, Buxus sempervirens L. Moreover, we compared the abundance of E. buxi on imidacloprid-treated and untreated boxwoods in the landscape and a greenhouse to determine if changes in the fecundity of mites exposed to imidacloprid were linked to outbreaks of E. buxi. We found that females consuming imidacloprid-treated plants laid more eggs than females feeding on untreated boxwoods, while their longevity remained unchanged. Fecundity was not affected, however, when spider mites were directly sprayed with imidacloprid and consumed foliage of untreated boxwoods. Furthermore, populations of E. buxi were greater on boxwoods treated with imidacloprid in the landscape and greenhouse. On landscape boxwoods, elevated populations of E. buxi persisted into a second year. We also observed general lack of predators of spider mites on treated and untreated boxwoods in the field suggesting that imidacloprid’s eruptive effect on E. buxi stems more from indirect changes in plant quality than from a loss of top-down regulation from E. buxi’s natural enemies.