Products containing insecticidal crystalline proteins (ICPs) produced by Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (Bti ICPs) are used to suppress vector and nuisance populations of black flies. The efficacy of an application of these products is often determined by a posttreatment evaluation of larval mortality. Larvae are typically removed from the substrate at some point in time after application of the product and mortality is determined. The time necessary for the effects of Bti ICPs to cause morality in exposed larvae can vary, and there is little consensus on how long operators should wait before evaluating larval mortality. This study was conducted to provide more information to larvicide applicators when performing posttreatment evaluations. Simulium vittatum larvae were exposed to Bti ICPs under controlled conditions and the mortality was monitored over time. Larvae exposed to operational concentrations of ICPs exhibited maximum mortality, approximately 87%, after 4 h. Exposure of larvae to 1/3 of that concentration resulted in similar mortality; however, the maximum mortality was not reached until 8 h postexposure. Additional experiments revealed that maximum mortality and time to maximum mortality can also be affected by components in the larval medium. Larval mortality was compared between larvae exposed to Bti ICPs in moderately hard water, medium containing 50 parts per million (ppm) of kaolinite, and medium containing 50 ppm of cellulose. The clay material had no significant effect on larval mortality or time to achieve maximum mortality. When cellulose was present in the medium, the time to maximum mortality was increased 50% and overall mortality was reduced by more than 40%.
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