Neonicotinoids from coated seeds toxic for honeydew-feeding biological control agents

Miguel Calvo-Agudo, Jonathan S Dregni, Joel González-Cabrera, Marcel Dicke, George E. Heimpel, Alejandro Tena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Seed coating (‘seed treatment’) is the leading delivery method of neonicotinoid insecticides in major crops such as soybean, wheat, cotton and maize. However, this prophylactic use of neonicotinoids is widely discussed from the standpoint of environmental costs. Growing soybean plants from neonicotinoid-coated seeds in field, we demonstrate that soybean aphids (Aphis glycines) survived the treatment, and excreted honeydew containing neonicotinoids. Biochemical analyses demonstrated that honeydew excreted by the soybean aphid contained substantial concentrations of neonicotinoids even one month after sowing of the crop. Consuming this honeydew reduced the longevity of two biological control agents of the soybean aphid, the predatory midge Aphidoletes aphidimyza and the parasitic wasp Aphelinus certus. These results have important environmental and economic implications because honeydew is the main carbohydrate source for many beneficial insects in agricultural landscapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117813
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume289
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Syngenta Crop Protection for providing the seeds for the experiments. We acknowledge the research assistants Sarah Wood, Sierra Baum, and Amber Johnson who helped enormously with field and laboratory work. This research was partially funded by an INIA project (Project No. RTA2017-00095 ), an “ Europa Excelencia ” project ( EUR2020-112293 ), the Conselleria d’Agricultura, Pesca i Alimentació de la Generalitat Valenciana, a grant from the University of Minnesota Rapid Agricultural Response Program , and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, United States . J.G.C was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness , Ramón y Cajal Program ( RYC-2013-13834 ), Spain. M.C-A was recipient of grant from INIA ( CPD2016-0085 ), Spain.

Funding Information:
We thank Syngenta Crop Protection for providing the seeds for the experiments. We acknowledge the research assistants Sarah Wood, Sierra Baum, and Amber Johnson who helped enormously with field and laboratory work. This research was partially funded by an INIA project (Project No. RTA2017-00095), an ?Europa Excelencia? project (EUR2020-112293), the Conselleria d'Agricultura, Pesca i Alimentaci? de la Generalitat Valenciana, a grant from the University of Minnesota Rapid Agricultural Response Program, and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, United States. J.G.C was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Ram?n y Cajal Program (RYC-2013-13834), Spain. M.C-A was recipient of grant from INIA (CPD2016-0085), Spain.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Keywords

  • Parasitic wasp
  • Predatory midge
  • Seed coating
  • Soybean aphid
  • Thiamethoxam

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