Mosquito egg traps, aquatic habitats baited with oviposition attractant and insecticide, are important tools for surveillance and control efforts in integrated vector management programs. The bioinsecticide Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) is increasingly used as an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical insecticides and the combination of Bti with a simple oviposition attractant like leaf litter to create an effective egg trap seems appealing. However, previous research suggests that Bti may itself alter oviposition, and that leaf litter may dramatically reduce Bti toxicity. Here we present results from field experiment designed to link the effects of litter and Bti on mosquito oviposition habitat selection and post-colonization survival to production of adult mosquitoes. Tripling litter increased Culex spp. oviposition nearly nine-fold, while Bti had no effect on oviposition. Neither factor altered egg survival, thus larval abundance reflected the effects of litter on oviposition. Both Bti and litter reduced larval survival by ∼60%. We found no evidence that increased litter reduced Bti toxicity. Adult production was dependent upon both litter and Bti. In the absence of Bti, effects of litter on oviposition translated into three-fold more adults. However, in the presence of Bti, initial increases in oviposition were erased by the combined negative effects of Bti and litter on post-colonization survival. Thus, our study provides field evidence that combined litter and Bti application creates an effective ovitrap. This combined treatment had the highest oviposition and the lowest survival, and thus removed the greatest number of mosquitoes from the landscape.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1