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Nontarget effects of mosquito control insecticides on pollinators. Balancing the protection of public health with preserving natural diversity

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Webinar Archive
Bryan Giordano, PhD
Course Levels:
All Levels
1 Hour Session
Audio and Video
Never expires.


Mosquito-borne pathogens continue to threaten human and animal health. For this reason, there is an urgent need to control populations of disease transmitting mosquitoes. The application of aerosolized chemical insecticides is a proven method to reduce adult populations of mosquitoes in an area. Nevertheless, these applications are not without consequence. Insecticide persistence on plant foliage and surface water can result in unwanted acute and chronic effects on local fauna. Nontarget effects can have devastating outcomes for imperiled species such as the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) - both have declined substantially in recent years. To elucidate the effects of nontarget toxicity on native pollinators, we exposed several insect species to Fyfanon EW (malathion) and DeltaGard (deltamethrin) by standard mosquito research methods. Laboratory bottle bioassays were used to quantify the effects of acute toxicity to native bumble bees and mosquitoes. To study pernicious effects of exposure, we reared monarch caterpillars on milkweed that had been contaminated by outdoor space applications of DeltaGard at varying distances from the spray path. Although the insecticides we tested cause nontarget mortality, our results suggest that with careful planning and consideration we can mitigate the effects of mortality.

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