Decaying organic matter did not remove sublethal effect of imidacloprid on mating in Spalangia endius (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae), a parasitoid of filth flies
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Both the parasitoid wasp Spalangia endius Walker and the insecticide imidacloprid are used to control house flies. A recent study found that negative sublethal effects of imidacloprid on killing flies and on offspring production by this parasitoid wasp are eliminated when females have the opportunity to crawl through decaying matter. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed that the presence of decaying matter reduces the amount of pesticide on their bodies. This study examined whether this was also true for sublethal effects on mating. S. endius were exposed to a realistic concentration of imidacloprid that induces very low mortality. Then, individual parasitoids were allowed to burrow through decaying organic matter or not, followed by mating tests in the absence of decaying matter. Even after 24 h with the decaying matter, copulation for both males and females that had previously been exposed to imidacloprid was delayed compared with no-pesticide controls. Furthermore, for pesticide-exposed males, subsequently burrowing through media made copulation even more delayed than if they were not exposed to media. For pesticide-exposed females, subsequently burrowing through media neither increased or decreased the negative effect of the pesticide exposure. Together with other studies, these results reinforce that use of S. endius and use of imidacloprid are incompatible, even at much lower than recommended concentration, unless application is sufficiently separated in place and time.