Hormetic and Transgenerational Effects in Spotted-wing Drosophila (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in Response to Three Commonly-Used Insecticides



Although insecticide formulations and spray rates are optimized to achieve lethal exposure, there are many factors in agricultural settings that can reduce the effective exposure of insect pests. These include weather patterns, timing of application, chemical degradation/volatilization, plant structural complexity, and resistant populations. While sub-lethal exposure to insecticides can still have negative impacts on pest populations, they can also lead to stimulatory, or hormetic, responses that can increase the fitness of surviving insects. Sub-lethal concentrations may also produce increased tolerance in the offspring of surviving adults through transgenerational effects. Sub-lethal effects are pertinent for the invasive fruit pest spotted-wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii Matsumura, because its small size, diurnal movement patterns, and utilization of hosts with complex plant structures, such as caneberries and blueberries, make effective insecticide applications tenuous. In this study, we measured spotted-wing Drosophila survivorship, reproductive performance, and offspring tolerance in flies exposed to sub-lethal concentrations of three commonly-used insecticides (zeta-cypermethrin, spinetoram, and pyrethrin). We found some evidence for hormesis, with survival effects being sex- and concentration-dependent for all insecticides. Males were far more susceptible to insecticides than females, which in some cases exhibited higher eclosion success and reproductive rates when exposed to sub-lethal doses. We did not observe significant transgenerational effects at sub-lethal concentrations, despite trends of increased offspring viability for zeta-cypermethrin and spinetoram. More research, however, is needed to fully understand the role that sub-lethal effects may play in pest population dynamics, insecticide efficacy, and the development of genetic resistance.

Dose-response, survivorship, and reproductive performance data for a sub-lethal and transgenerational study.

Funding information
Sponsorship: Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Crops Research Program, of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, St. Paul, MN (2018-2021); Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station
Date made availableMar 14 2022
PublisherData Repository for the University of Minnesota
Date of data productionAug 7 2020 - Jun 30 2022

Cite this