Implications and Prognosis of Resistance to Insecticides

  • Robert L. Metcalf


Insect resistance to insecticides has been a scientifically described phenomenon for 65 years, since Melander (1914) first described the failure of lime sulfur sprays to control the San Jose scale, Aspidiotus perniciosus, on apple trees in the Clarkson Valley, Washington. Two generations of entomologists have watched the number of authentic cases of insect pest resistance grow at an exponential rate. Since 1948, the number of cases has doubled about every six years and has now passed 400 (see Georghiou, this volume). This strongly suggests that in another 10 years the number of examples may exceed 1,500 species. Since the number of important insect pests is generally estimated at about 600 in the United States and is perhaps about 1% of all described species of insects, it seems likely that by the turn of the century, man will have succeeded in producing some degree of insecticide resistance in nearly all pest insects. This is a monumental achievement and yet its accomplishment, toward which we are well on our way, is passing with relatively little notice by learned societies or governmental agencies, and with almost no notice by society in general.


Insecticide Resistance Methyl Parathion Residual House Multiple Resistance Synthetic Pyrethroid 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert L. Metcalf
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbana-ChampaignUSA

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