The susceptibility of a clone of green apple aphid, Aphis pomi (De Geer), to the neonicotinyl insecticide imidacloprid was determined by direct and indirect bioassay techniques. Aphid numbers were assessed on potted apple seedlings treated with various concentrations of imidacloprid, adults were dipped in test solutions as per the Food and Agriculture Organization protocol, or nymphs and adults were reared on treated apple leaf disks. Effective concentrations required to kill half of the test population (EC50) varied depending on the bioassay technique, ranging from as low as 0.064 ppm for first instars reared for 3 d on treated leaf disks to 1.79 ppm for adult apterae dipped in solutions of imidacloprid and held for 24 h on clean leaf disks. When imidacloprid was directly applied to aphids, mortality continued to increase over 3 d, but the difference was not statistically significant between day 2 (1.36 ppm) and day 3 (1.19 ppm). Toxicity of neonicotinyls to aphids is expressed rather slowly and primarily after oral ingestion. The effect of imidacloprid on reproduction of green apple aphid was also assessed for adult apterae reared on treated leaf disks. Contrary to previous reports, our results demonstrated that imidacloprid does not have a direct negative effect on the reproductive physiology of this species. Negative effects can mostly be attributed to the antifeedant activity of this compound and the protracted time to death. The results of this study contribute to a better understanding of the most suitable techniques for assessing aphid mortality after exposure to these new insecticides and provides a baseline susceptibility to imidacloprid for green apple aphid.
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Vol. 96 • No. 6