Inorganic insecticides are commonly used in urban pest management because of their low mammalian toxicity. We tested the effects of sodium tetraborate (ST) on life parameters of greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), to determine its sublethal toxicity on the insect. Survival, development, adult longevity, and fecundity of the wax moth were investigated by rearing larvae on artificial diets containing ST at concentrations of 0.005, 0.1, 0.2, or 0.3%. Larvae reared on medium at the highest concentration of ST (0.3%) had significantly decreased survival to the seventh instar and prolonged time required to reach the seventh instar. This concentration reduced pupa and adult yields to 12.5%, and it also prolonged development by 5 d. ST did not significantly influence adult longevity. Dietary ST led to significant decreases in fecundity and egg viability. Oviposition of survivors at the highest ST concentration (0.3%) was completely inhibited. Lysozyme content was decreased in larval hemolymph and fat body at high dietary ST concentrations. Fat body lysozyme content was significantly increased two-fold for larvae reared on diet at the lowest concentration of ST (0.005%). However, the highest concentration (0.3%) dramatically decreased fat body lysozyme content from 0.12 ± 0.013 to 0.006 ± 0.003 mg/ml in seventh instars. We infer that sublethal levels of dietary ST substantially influence life history parameters and immunocompetence in G. mellonella.
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Vol. 101 • No. 3