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Old 12-04-2014, 08:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA
Default Neonicotinoids + slugs kill beneficial beetles

Insecticides foster 'toxic' slugs, reduce crop yields | Penn State University

"Our research suggests that neonicotinoids can have unintended costs, even within crop production," he said.
The researchers conducted laboratory and field experiments. In the lab, they exposed slugs to three types of soybeans -- untreated soybeans, soybeans whose seeds were treated with fungicide, and soybeans treated with fungicide and seed-applied thiamethoxam, a very common neonicotinoid. The team then tracked slug weight and survival. Next, the scientists presented slugs from the treatments to a ground beetle species that eats slugs. They then tracked slug mortality and symptoms of beetle poisoning.
"In our lab work, we found that slugs were unaffected by the fungicides and also unaffected by the neonicotinoid insecticides, likely because they are mollusks and not insects," said Tooker. "But the slugs did transmit the insecticide to the ground beetles, impairing or killing more than 60 percent of the beetles."
"Slugs are among the most challenging pests faced by Mid-Atlantic no-till growers," said Tooker. "Our research reveals that neonicotinoids can indirectly increase slug damage to crops by poisoning insects that eat slugs. As a result, crop yields are lower."
According to Tooker, their results also confirm that predatory insects can provide significant control of slugs.
"This phenomenon dispels the common belief in the United States that insect predators do not contribute to slug control," he said. "It also emphasizes that if growers care for these predator populations they can help with slug control."
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