Use of insecticides with low toxicity to natural enemies is an important component of conservation biological control. In this study, we evaluated the toxicity of insecticides used in sweet corn, Zea mays L., and soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr., to the multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), under laboratory and field conditions. Field experiments conducted in sweet corn in 2003 and 2004 and in soybean in 2003, showed that H. axyridis was the most abundant predator. In sweet corn, densities of H. axyridis larvae in plots treated with spinosad or indoxacarb were generally higher than in plots treated with chlorpyrifos, carbaryl, bifenthrin, and λ-cyhalothrin. In soybean, densities of H. axyridis larvae in plots treated with chlorpyrifos were higher than in plots treated with λ-cyhalothrin. Laboratory experiments were conducted to evaluate the acute toxicity of insecticides to eggs, first and third instars, pupae, and adults. Spinosad, followed by indoxacarb, were the least toxic insecticides for all life stages of H. axyridis. Conventional insecticides showed high toxicity to H. axyridis when applied at field rates under laboratory conditions. Overall, first instars were most susceptible to the insecticides tested, followed by third instars and adults, eggs, and pupae. Our results suggest that spinosad, and to a lesser extent indoxacarb, offer reduced toxicity to H. axyridis and would be beneficial for conservation biological control in agricultural systems where H. axyridis is abundant.
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Vol. 98 • No. 3