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Impact of agricultural adjuvants on the toxicity of the diamide insecticides chlorantraniliprole and flubendiamide on different life stages of the navel orangeworm (Amyelois transitella)

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The navel orangeworm (Amyelois transitella) (Walker) is a destructive pest of tree nuts in California orchards. Overall demand for these crops and acreage expansions have resulted in significant insecticide applications to reduce A. transitella damage. Despite widespread use in A. transitella insecticide applications, the potential toxicity of adjuvants applied in combination with insecticides remains uncharacterized. In these experiments, five adjuvants (Cohere®, Dyne-Amic®, FastStrike®, Induce®, Latron B-1956®), alone and in combination with the diamide insecticides chlorantraniliprole (Altacor®) and flubendiamide (Belt®), were assessed for activity against the adults and eggs of A. transitella. Laboratory studies utilized a spray tower for application while field studies used orchard air-blast sprayers. Laboratory exposure of both adults and eggs demonstrated that adjuvant toxicity varied across life stages. In the laboratory, the addition of chlorantraniliprole to adjuvants increased incapacity (dead + moribund). The results for flubendiamide were variable, and only FastStrike had the same high adult toxicity for both diamides. For eggs exposed to these diamides, overall mortality was similar. In field studies, Dyne-Amic and Latron B-1956 were tested and their adult toxicity varied. In contact assays, effects of adjuvants were similar when used with Belt® and differed when used with Altacor®. We conclude that the adjuvants for navel orangeworm management are intrinsically toxic to A. transitella in both the laboratory and field. Further studies are needed to attain the toxicity realized in the laboratory in field applications and also to determine whether our findings of adjuvant enhancement of insecticide toxicity are applicable to other insecticide classes.

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We thank the Almond Board of California and the California Pistachio Research Board for funding this research. We thank Erik Rankel and Matt Rodriguez for the quantification of spray tower coverage. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the US Department of Agriculture or the University of Illinois. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


This study was funded by the Almond Board of California (Grant ABC 16.ENT01 NOW) and the California Pistachio Research Board (Grant 2016 CPRB 082844).

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Correspondence to Mark R. Demkovich.

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All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

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Communicated by E. Roditakis.

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Demkovich, M.R., Siegel, J.P., Walse, S.S. et al. Impact of agricultural adjuvants on the toxicity of the diamide insecticides chlorantraniliprole and flubendiamide on different life stages of the navel orangeworm (Amyelois transitella). J Pest Sci 91, 1127–1136 (2018).

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