Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 469–478 | Cite as

Dust to weevils, weevils to dust: maize weevil personality and susceptibility to diatomaceous earth

  • H. A. E. Malia
  • C. A. Rosi-Denadai
  • D. G. Cardoso
  • Raul Narciso C. Guedes
Original Paper


The role of behavior in insecticide susceptibility is broadly recognized, in addition to the physiological effects of insecticides. Curiously, the recognition of the importance of behavior does not extend to the control by physical agents, like inert dusts such as diatomaceous earth (DE). Furthermore, behavioral traits are typically regarded as isolated traits and not as suite of traits simultaneously expressed in individual organisms, referred to as personality (or individuality). Because the set of behavioral traits of an individual may play a role in susceptibility to physical control agents, such as DE, a set of six behavioral traits encompassing three personality dimensions (i.e., activity, boldness/shyness, and exploration/avoidance), were assessed in six populations of the maize weevil Sitophilus zeamais. The (average) behavioral types varied among populations (Wilks´ lambda = 0.09, F 45/674 = 10.72, P < 0.001), as did the susceptibility to DE (χ2 = 11.0, df = 5, P = 0.05), with median survival times (95 % CL) ranging from 144.00 (119.69–168.31) h to 216.00 (179.10–252.90) h. These different behavioral types were not recognized when individual-based analysis was performed, although the individual hierarchical level represented over 63 % of the variance in the behavioral traits. Weevil activity was successfully used to describe survival time and, therefore, the susceptibility to diatomaceous earth, but the population-based response was crudely oversimplified. Therefore, to disregard the inter-individual behavioral variation, even when simple behavioral traits suitably describe the susceptibility to DE, in favor of interpopulation variation is temerary and may lead to management shortcomings.


Diatomaceous earth Inert dusts Stored products Storage pests Behavioral types Insect behavior 



The technical assistance provided by N. Guedes was greatly appreciated, as was the financial support provided by the PEC-PG Program of the CAPES Foundation (Brazilian Ministry of Education), the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq; Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology), and the Minas Gerais State Foundation for Research Aid (FAPEMIG).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. A. E. Malia
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. A. Rosi-Denadai
    • 1
  • D. G. Cardoso
    • 1
  • Raul Narciso C. Guedes
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de EntomologiaUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  2. 2.Direcção de Agronomia & Recursos Naturais, Instituto de Investigação Agrária de MoçambiqueMaputoMozambique

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