Pesticides are commonly used for pest management in apple, pear and walnut orchards in the western U.S. and may disrupt biological control of secondary pests in these crops. A comparative analysis was made of results obtained from a series of laboratory bioassays of acute mortality and life table response experiments to estimate lethal and sublethal effects of eight pesticides on seven natural enemy species through use of stage-structured population models. Even though a number of the pesticides tested were reduced-risk products, all of them with the exception of copper plus mancozeb and chlorantraniliprole, caused more than 80% acute mortality of at least one life stage of at least one of the natural enemy species at a full field-rate concentration and could thus be considered moderately harmful according to the International Organization for Biological Control classification for laboratory bioassays. Important sublethal effects included reductions in daily fecundity and egg fertility. From integration of the lethal and sublethal effects in matrix models, the mean of the estimated intrinsic rates of increase for natural enemy species was negative for exposure to cyantraniliprole, lambda-cyhalothrin and spinetoram, but positive and not significantly different from the control for exposure to chlorantraniliprole, copper plus mancozeb, novaluron, and sulfur. For comparisons among pesticides, there appears to be considerable variation in response among natural enemy species that can only be represented effectively from a full life table response experiment and a population-level endpoint, whereas among natural enemy species, their population-level response to the range of pesticides tested could frequently be represented by acute adult mortality alone.
Nicholas J. Mills, Elizabeth H. Beers, Peter W. Shearer, Thomas R. Unruh, Kaushalya G. Amarasekare, "Comparative analysis of pesticide effects on natural enemies in western orchards: A synthesis of laboratory bioassay data", Biological Control, Vol. 102, 2016, Pages 17-25, ISSN 1049-9644, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2015.05.006.