Fipronil, a phenylpyrazole insecticide, was made available in 1999 in bait formulations for use against the German cockroach, Blattella germanica (L.). We have investigated resistance to fipronil in the descendants of cockroaches collected just before, or contemporaneously with, the introduction of fipronil baits. Cockroaches were obtained in two types of settings: homes that either had or had not been serviced by a pest management professional while occupied by their current residents. Thorough inspections by us turned up no evidence that fipronil had been used in any of the homes, and in addition, no residents claimed to have used baits containing fipronil. Resistance to fipronil was detected by topically dosing adult males with the LC99 of fipronil, the value of which was determined in a dose-response assay with males of an insecticide-susceptible strain. Fewer than 99 of 100 males of all field-collected strains died within 72 h of being treated. Moreover, substantial numbers of males survived doses three and 10-fold greater than the LC99. Regression analysis showed that 67% of the variation in the percentage of males that died after being treated with fipronil was explained by a linear relationship with the percentage that died after being treated with dieldrin. Therefore, it appears that resistance to fipronil in German cockroaches—whose ancestors had never been exposed to it—is attributable to enduring resistance to the cyclodienes, which were formerly used for cockroach control and have a similar mode of action as fipronil. Lastly, we found that insects resistant to topically administered fipronil were likewise resistant, and to a similar degree, to ingested fipronil.
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Vol. 96 • No. 5