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Bull Entomol Res. 2004 Jun;94(3):273-82.

Biological and chemical assays of pyrethroids in cattle dung.

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  • 1Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, Chatham Martime, Kent, ME4 4TB, UK.


Bioassays were developed in Zimbabwe to measure pyrethroid in cattle dung. These and chemical assays then estimated concentrations in dung from treated oxen and elucidated risks to dung fauna. Laboratory bioassays with adult beetles (Histeridae and Scarabaeinae, including Copris, Digitonthophagus, Onitis and Sisyphus spp.) and muscoid larvae (Musca lusoria Wiedemann) indicated that the LC50 of pyrethroids, as ppm in the wet weight, averaged 0.04 for deltamethrin pour-on, 0.25 for deltamethrin dip, 0.22 for alphacypermthrin pour-on, 0.10 for cyfluthrin pour-on, 0.23 for cypermethrin dip and 0.63 for flumethrin dip. Field bioassays involved artificial dung pats of 800 g, deployed in woodland and inspected after 24 h to record insects dead and alive. Beetles were most abundant in the wet season. Muscoid larvae were less seasonal. The LC50 of insecticides in the field confirmed laboratory indications. Adult Diptera (muscoids and Sgifidae) were not repelled or killed until the deltamethrin concentration reached 10 ppm. Pat dispersal by dung fauna and termites (Microtermes spp.) was halved by deltamethrin at 0.1-1 ppm. Scavenging of dead beetles by ants was greatest with small beetles (< 15 mm long) uncontaminated with insecticide. Dips and pour-ons of deltamethrin on cattle gave residues of about 0.01-0.1 ppm in dung produced in the fortnight after application. About 1.6% of the deltamethrin applied was transferred to dung. Deltamethrin and alphacypermethrin in dung showed no detectable degradation in 64 days. Contamination levels threaten populations of slow-breeding beetles.

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