The insidious flower bug, Orius insidiosus (Say) (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae) is an important surrogate species for assessing potential effects of plant-incorporated protectants (PIPs) on nontarget heterotrophic predators. In this study, a continuous dietary exposure system was optimized by assessing the effect of diet composition and age on the survival and development of nymphs of O. insidiosus. Greater than 85% control survival and an acceptable rate of development from nymph hatching to adult was achieved using 5-d-old nymphs at test initiation and a bee pollen-based diet supplemented with 25% Ephestia eggs. There was an unacceptable level of mortality (>40%) and/or a significantly prolonged development time when nymphs were <5 d old at test initiation. When 5-d-old nymphs were fed a bee pollen diet containing 25% Ephestia eggs and 100 μg/g potassium arsenate, time-dependent mortality was observed with a median lethal time (LT50) of 4.4 d and 100% mortality was observed after 10 d of feeding, indicating the effectiveness of the test system to detect adverse effects by dietary exposure. It is recommended that well-defined 5-d-old nymphs and an encapsulated bee pollen-based diet containing 25% ground Ephestia eggs be used in a Tier-I dietary feeding exposure assay for detecting potential effects of PIPs on O. insidiosus nymphs.
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