Horizontal transmission of insecticide occurs when foragers contact or ingest an insecticide, return to the aggregation or nest, and translocate the insecticide to the shelter and its vicinity. Relatively more sedentary members of the population then contact or eat the translocated insecticide and die. We evaluated three different methods of delivering fipronil to adult male German cockroaches, Blattella germanica (L.), for their potential to cause such secondary mortality in various developmental stages of the cockroach. Adult males topically treated with 5 ng of fipronil (≈LD99) caused low mortality in untreated nymphs and no mortality in untreated adults within the same aggregation. Males exposed to residual fipronil on a glass surface translocated more insecticide, resulting in higher mortality of cockroaches they contacted, but only early instars were affected and no adult mortality was observed. Ingested fipronil bait, however, was most effectively translocated, and caused high mortality of untreated adults and nymphs. Ingestion of fipronil also caused greater secondary kill compared with a topical application of 25 ng, approximately the same amount recovered from the exterior of males that ingested 1 mg of 0.05% fipronil bait. Secondary mortality in the untreated population was significantly affected by the duration of contact between the treated and untreated cockroaches, the quantity and freshness of excretions from the treated insects, and the accessibility of the secretions to untreated cockroaches. The mechanisms that cause secondary kill may include ingestion of excreted fipronil residues, cannibalism of bait-fed cockroaches, as well as contact with fipronil-contaminated substrates.
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