, Volume 85, Issue 1, pp 133-140
Date: 08 Oct 2011

Susceptibility of Megachile rotundata to insecticides used in wild blueberry production in Atlantic Canada

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The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (Fabricius), is a valuable wild and managed pollinator of lowbush blueberry (syn. ‘wild blueberry’, Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.), in Atlantic Canada. As some insecticides may present a hazard to pollinators, we assessed the susceptibility of M. rotundata to insecticides used or projected for future use in lowbush blueberry pest management. In topical direct contact bioassays, adults were susceptible to phosmet, spinosad, spinetoram, and deltamethrin. Based on findings from these laboratory studies, it appears that when used at recommended or projected application rates, each of these compounds poses a hazard to M. rotundata by direct contact. In a second experiment, eggs and larvae were collected in the field and their pollen provisions were treated with deltamethrin, flubendiamide, and spinetoram at field relevant concentrations. Larvae treated with deltamethrin and spinetoram in the laboratory either died before spinning a cocoon or, in the case of spinetoram, occasionally pupated without spinning a cocoon. Flubendiamide was not toxic to adult M. rotundata by direct contact and had no effect on larval survivorship, or time to complete cocoon spinning. Emergence after overwintering was relatively poor overall, but there was no effect of treatment. Based on these results, flubendiamide appears safe to use in the presence of M. rotundata, whereas the other insecticides we tested may pose a hazard.