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J Econ Entomol. 2011 Apr;104(2):629-35.

Metabolic mechanisms only partially explain resistance to pyrethroids in Australian broiler house populations of lesser mealworm (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae).

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  • 1Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Agri-Science Queensland, 665 Fairfield Rd., Yeerongpilly, QLD 4105, Australia.


The susceptibility of six Australian broiler house populations and an insecticide susceptible population of lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), to cyfluthrin, beta-cyfluthrin, gamma-cyhalothrin, and deltamethrin was investigated. One broiler house population had equivalent susceptibility to the susceptible to beta-cyfluthrin and beta-cyhalothrin, with higher susceptibility to cyfluthrin and deltamethrin. The remaining five populations demonstrated strong resistance to cyfluthrin (19-37-fold), the insecticide used most widely for management of A. diaperinus in Australia. Each cyfluthrin-resistant population demonstrated reduced susceptibility to beta-cyfluthrin (resistance ratios were 8-17-fold), deltamethrin (2.5-8-fold), and gamma-cyhalothrin (6-12-fold) compared with the laboratory population, but cross-resistance patterns varied considerably between populations. Adding piperonyl butoxide (PBO) had no effect on the susceptibility of the susceptible population to any of the insecticides, but it increased the susceptibility of each of the five cyfluthrin-resistant populations: to cyfluthrin (synergism ratio range, 1.9-5.0-fold), beta-cyfluthrin (1.6-4.1-fold), and y-cyhalothrin (1.7-2.0-fold). PBO had a more variable effect on susceptibility to deltamethrin, with three of the cyfluthrin-resistant populations being more susceptible to deltamethrin in the presence of PBO, but susceptibility of the remaining two populations was unaffected by adding PBO (synergism ratio range, 0.9-2.5-fold). Overall, the addition of PBO to the four pyrethroids had variable effects on their susceptibility. This variability indicated the presence of other resistance mechanisms in beetle populations apart from metabolic resistance. In addition, the relative importance of metabolic resistance in each beetle population varied widely between pyrethroids. Thus, it cannot be assumed that PBO will reliably synergize pyrethroids against cyfluthrin-resistant lesser mealworm populations when using it to mitigate insecticide resistance.

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