A method to investigate neonicotinoid resistance in mites
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The redlegged earth mite (Halotydeus destructor) is an important agricultural pest in Australia, with a wide range of plant hosts. Halotydeus destructor has developed resistance to pyrethroid and organophosphorus insecticides as a consequence of the widespread use of these chemicals by farmers. Neonicotinoids are one of the few remaining insecticide classes registered against H. destructor in which resistance has not been detected, although there have been occasional reports of control difficulties experienced in the field. There is currently no reliable way to accurately test the response of H. destructor (or indeed any mite species) to neonicotinoid insecticides. Here, we developed a new bioassay to assess the response of mites against the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. The method provided consistent results and showed no variation when used by different operators. We generated base-line sensitivity data for imidacloprid across a number of field-collected populations of H. destructor. This is important for future monitoring of mite responses given the considerable selection pressure now being exerted across large areas of the Australian farming landscape through the widespread use of neonicotinoid seed treatments.
KeywordsBioassay Insecticide Acari Imidacloprid Halotydeus destructor Myzus persicae
This work was supported through the Grains Research and Development Corporation (Grant no. UM00057). We thank Alan Lord, and those farmers and advisors who assisted with mite collections and freely provided field history details. Thanks also to the editor and anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on this manuscript.
P.U. led the study conception and all authors contributed to the design. Data collection was performed by J.M., A.A. and M.B. Analysis was conducted by J.M. The first draft of the manuscript was written by P.U and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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