Reducing Herbivory Using Insecticides

  • E. Siemann
  • W. P. Carson
  • W. E. Rogers
  • W. W. Weisser
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 173)


Insecticides are a vital tool for manipulating insect herbivory, but limitations of the method can result in erroneous conclusions about the relationships among herbivores, plant population dynamics, plant community composition and ecosystem processes. In particular, direct effects of insecticide applications on plants or ecosystem processes, effects on non-target organisms and indirect effects via plant competition may cause ecologists to misjudge the importance of insect herbivores in ecosystems. A survey of published studies showed that most investigators considered some of the more likely artifacts, but few were thorough in testing for such artifacts. Data on insect damage and insect abundance are particularly useful for establishing a causative role for insect herbivore suppression in insecticide effects.


Insect Herbivore Plant Community Composition Phytotoxic Effect Insecticide Application Appl Ecol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agnello AM, Reissig WH, Spangler SM, Charlton RE, Kain DP (1996) Trap response and fruit damage by obliquebanded leafroller ( Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in pheromone-treated apple orchards in New York. Environ Entomol 25: 268–282Google Scholar
  2. Bailey JK, Whitham TG (2002) Interactions among fire, aspen, and elk affect insect diversity: reversal of a community response. Ecology 83: 1701–1712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barkham JP (1980) Population-dynamics of the wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). 2. Changes in number of shoots and flowers, and the effect of bulb depth on growth and reproduction. J Ecol 68: 635–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrett GW (1968) The effects of an acute insecticide stress on a semi-enclosed grassland ecosystem. Ecology 49: 1019–1035CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Billick I, Case T (1994) Higher order interactions in ecological communities: what are they and how can they be detected? Ecology 75: 1529–1543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown MW (1993) Resilience of the natural arthropod community on apple to external disturbance. Ecol Entomol 18: 169–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown VK, Gange AC (1989a) Differential effects of above-and below-ground insect herbivory during early plant succession. Oikos 54: 67–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown VK, Gange AC (1989b) Herbivory by soil-dwelling insects depresses plant-species richness. Funct Ecol 3: 667–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown VK, Leijn M, Stinson CSA (1987) The experimental manipulation of insect herbivore load by the use of an insecticide ( Malathion)–the effect of application on plant-growth. Oecologia 72: 377–381Google Scholar
  10. Brown VK, Jepsen M, Gibson CWD (1988) Insect herbivory: effects on early old field succession demonstrated by chemical exclusion methods. Oikos 52: 293–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cain ML, Carson WP, Root RB (1991) Long-term suppression of insect herbivores increases the production and growth of Solidago altissima rhizomes. Oecologia 88: 251–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Calvo-Irabien LM, Islas-Luna A (1999) Predispersal predation of an understory rainforest herb Aphelandra aurantiaca ( Acanthaceae) in gaps and mature forest. Am J Bot 86: 1108–1113Google Scholar
  13. Cantlon JE (1969) The stability of natural populations and their sensitivity to technology. Brookhaven Symp Biol 22: 197–205PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Carson WP, Root RB (1999) Top-down effects of insect herbivores during early succession: influence on biomass and plant dominance. Oecologia 121: 260–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Carson WP, Root RB (2000) Herbivory and plant species coexistence: community regulation by an outbreaking phytophagous insect. Ecol Monogr 70: 73–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chase JM, Leibold MA, Downing AL, Shurin JB (2000) The effects of productivity, her- bivory, and plant species turnover in grassland food webs. Ecology 81: 2485–2497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Christensen KM, Whitham TG (1993) Impact of insect herbivores on competition between birds and mammals for pinyon pine seeds. Ecology 74: 2270–2278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Coats SA, Coats JR, Ellis CR (1979) Selective toxicity of three synthetic pyrethroids to eight coccinelids, a eulophid parasitoid and two pest chrysomelids. Environ Entomol 8: 720–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cohen JE, Schoenly K, Heong KL, Justo H,Arida G, Barrion AT, Litsinger JA (1994) A food web approach to evaluating the effect of insecticide spraying on insect pest population dynamics in a Philippine irrigated rice ecosystem. J Appl Ecol 31: 747–763Google Scholar
  20. Crawley MJ (1997) Plant–herbivore dynamics. In: Crawley MJ (ed) Plant ecology, 2nd edn. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 401–474Google Scholar
  21. Dempster JP (1968) The control of Pieris rapae with DDT. III. Some changes in the crop fauna. J Appl Ecol 5: 463–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dominguez CA, Dirzo R (1994) Effects of defoliation on Erythroxylum havanense, a tropical proleptic species. Ecology 75: 1896–1902CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Donaldson JS (1997) Is there a floral parasite mutualism in cycad pollination? The pollination biology of Encephalartos villosus (Zamiaceae).Am J Bot 84: 1398–1406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Du Toit JT, Bryant JP, Frisby K (1990) Regrowth and palatability of acacia shoots following pruning by African savanna browsers. Ecology 71: 149–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Edwards CA, Reichle DE, Crossley DAJ (1968) Experimental manipulation of soil invertebrate populations for trophic studies. Ecology 50: 495–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Edwards CA, Sunderland KD, George KS (1979) Studies on polyphagous predators of cereal aphids. J Appl Ecol 16: 811–823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fox LR, Morrow PA (1992) Eucalypt responses to fertilization and reduced herbivory. Oecologia 89: 214–222Google Scholar
  28. Fraser LH, Grime JP (1997) Primary productivity and trophic dynamics investigated in a north Derbyshire, UK, dale. Oikos 80: 499–508Google Scholar
  29. Funderburk J, Stavisky J, Olson S (2000) Predation of Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in field peppers by Orius insidiosus ( Hemiptera: Anthocoridae). Environ Entomol 29: 376–382Google Scholar
  30. Ganade G, Brown VK (1997) Effects of below-ground insects, mycorrhizal fungi and soil fertility on the establishment of Vicia in grassland communities. Oecologia 109:374– 381Google Scholar
  31. Gange AC, Brown VK, Evans IM, Storr AL (1989) Variation in the impact of insect herbivory on Trifolium pratense through early plant succession. J Ecol 77: 537–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gange AC, Brown VK, Farmer LM (1992) Effects of pesticides on the germination of weed seeds–implications for manipulative experiments. J Appl Ecol 29: 303–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Harper JL (1977) Population biology of plants. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  34. Hartley SE (1998) The chemical composition of plant galls: are levels of nutrients and secondary compounds controlled by the gall-former? Oecologia 113:492–501 Johansen CA (1972) Toxicity of field-weathered insecticide residues to four kinds of bees. Environ Entomol 1: 393–394Google Scholar
  35. Kaitaniemi P, Ruohomaki K, Ossipov V, Haukioja E, Pihlaja K (1998) Delayed induced changes in the biochemical composition of host plant leaves during an insect outbreak. Oecologia 116: 182–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kelly CA, Dyer RJ (2002) Demographic consequences of inflorescence-feeding insects for Liatris cylindracea, an iteroparous perennial. Oecologia 132: 350–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kleintjes PK (1997) Midseason insecticide treatment of balsam twig aphids (Homoptera: Aphididae) and their aphidophagous predators in a Wisconsin Christmas tree plantation. Environ Entomol 26: 1393–1397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Louda SM (1982a) Distribution ecology–variation in plant recruitment over a gradient in relation to insect seed predation. Ecol Monogr 52: 25–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Louda SM (1982b) Limitation of the recruitment of the shrub Haplopappus squarrosus (Asteraceae) by flower and seed feeding insects. J Ecol 70: 43–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Louda SM (1984) Herbivore effect on stature, fruiting, and leaf dynamics of a native crucifer. Ecology 65: 1379–1386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Louda SM, Potvin MA (1995) Effect of inflorescence-feeding insects on the demography and lifetime fitness of a native plant. Ecology 76: 229–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Louda SM, Rodman JE (1996) Insect herbivory as a major factor in the shade distribution of a native crucifer (Cardamine cordifolia A. Gray, bittercress ). J Ecol 84: 229–237Google Scholar
  43. Malone CR (1969) Effects of Diazinon contamination on an old-field ecosystem. Am Midl Nat 82: 1–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Maron JL (1997) Interspecific competition and insect herbivory reduce bush lupine (Lupinus arboreus) seedling survival. Oecologia 110: 284–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Martens SN, Boyd RS (2002) The defensive role of Ni hyperaccumulation by plants: a field experiment.Am J Bot 89: 998–1003Google Scholar
  46. Martinsen GD, Driebe EM, Whitham TG (1998) Indirect interactions mediated by changing plant chemistry: beaver browsing benefits beetles. Ecology 79: 192–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Masters GJ, Jones TH, Rogers M (2001) Host-plant mediated effects of root herbivory on insect seed predators and their parasitoids. Oecologia 127: 246–250CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. McBrien H, Harmsen R, Crowder A (1983) A case of insect grazing affecting plant succession. Ecology 64: 1035–1039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. McNaughton F (1970) Net primary production of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) in western Scotland. J Appl Ecol 3: 577–590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Messina FJ, Durham SL, Richards JH, McArthur ED (2002) Trade-off between plant growth and defense? A comparison of sagebrush populations. Oecologia 131: 43–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mitchell CE (2003) Trophic control of grassland production and biomass by pathogens. Ecol Lett 6: 147–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Müller-Schärer H, Brown VK (1995) Direct and indirect effects of aboveground and belowground insect herbivory on plant-density and performance of Tripleurospermum perforatum during early plant succession. Oikos 72: 36–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. National Research Council of Canada (198 1) Pesticide–pollinator interactions. National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 190 ppGoogle Scholar
  54. Norris RF (1997) Impact of leaf mining on the growth of Portulaca oleracea (common purslane) and its competitive interaction with Beta vulgaris (sugarbeet). J Appl Ecol 34: 349–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Palmisano S, Fox LR (1997) Effects of mammal and insect herbivory on population dynamics of a native California thistle, Cirisum occidentale. Oecologia 111: 413–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Parker LW, Santos PF, Phillips J, Whitford WG (1984) Carbon and nitrogen dynamics during the decomposition of litter and roots of a Chihuahuan desert annual, Lepidium lasiocarpum. Ecol Monogr 54: 339–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Paynter Q, Fowler SV, Memmott J, Sheppard AW (1998) Factors affecting the establishment of Cytisus scoparius in southern France: implications for managing both native and exotic populations. J Appl Ecol 35: 582–595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pell M, Stenberg B, Torstensson L (1998) Potential denitrification and nitrification tests for evaluation of pesticide effects in soil. Ambio 27: 24–28Google Scholar
  59. Perfecto I (1990) Indirect and direct effects in a tropical agroecosystem: the maize–pest– ant system in Nicaragua. Ecology 71: 2125–2134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Perring TM, Gruenhagen NM, Farrar CA (1999) Management of plant viral diseases through chemical control of insect vectors. Annu Rev Entomol 44: 457–481CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Pysek P (1992) Seasonal changes in response of Senecio ovatus to grazing by the chrysomelid beetle Chrysomela speciosissima. Oecologia 91: 596–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rees M, Brown VK (1992) Interactions between invertebrate herbivores and plant competition. J Ecol 80: 353–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Risch SJ, Pimentel D, Grover H (1986) Corn monoculture versus old field: effects of low levels of insecticide. Ecology 67: 505–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Root RB (1996) Herbivore pressure on goldenrods (Solidago altissima): its variation and cumulative effects. Ecology 77: 1074–1087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Root R, Gowan JA (1976) The influence of insecticides with differing specificity on the structure of the fauna associated with potatoes.Am Midl Nat 99: 299–314Google Scholar
  66. Santos PF, Whitford WG (198 1) The effects of microarthropods on litter decomposition in a Chihuahuan desert ecosystem. Ecology 62: 654–663Google Scholar
  67. Santos PF, Phillips J, Whitford WG (198 1) The role of mites and nematodes in early stages of buried litter decomposition in a desert. Ecology 62: 664–669Google Scholar
  68. Santos PF, Elkins NZ, Steinberger Y, Whitford WG (1984) A comparison of surface and buried Larrea tridentata leaf litter decomposition in North American hot deserts. Ecology 65: 278–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schlesinger WH (1997) Biogeochemistry: an analysis of global change, 2nd edn. Academic Press, San Diego, 588 ppGoogle Scholar
  70. Seastedt TR, Crossley DAJ, Hargrove WW (1983) The effects of low-level consumption by canopy arthropods on the growth and nutrient dynamics of black locust and red maple trees in the southern Appalachians. Ecology 64: 1040–1048CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sessions L, Kelly D (2002) Predator-mediated apparent competition between an introduced grass, Agrostis capillaris, and a native fern, Botrychium australe ( Ophioglossaceae), in New Zealand. Oikos 96: 102–109Google Scholar
  72. Shimazaki A, Miyashita T (2002) Deer browsing reduces leaf damage by herbivorous insects through an induced response of the host plant. Ecol Res 17: 527–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Shure DJ (1971) Insecticide effects on early succession in an old field ecosystem. Ecology 52: 271–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Siemann E, Rogers WE (2003) Herbivory, disease, recruitment limitation and the success of an alien tree species. Ecology 84: 1489–1505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Spencer H, Norman PA (1952) Increases in citrus red mite infestations after the application of parathion sprays. Fla Entomol 35: 87–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Strong AM, Sherry TW, Holmes RT (2000) Bird predation on herbivorous insects: indirect effects on sugar maple saplings. Oecologia 125: 370–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Traveset A (1994) The effect of Agonoscena targionii (Licht) (Homoptera, Psylloidea) on seed production by Pistacia terebinthus L. Oecologia 98: 72–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wardle DA (2002) Communities and ecosystems: linking the aboveground and below-ground components. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  79. Wardle DA, Barker GM (1997) Competition and herbivory in establishing grassland communities: implications for plant biomass, species diversity and soil microbial activity. Oikos 80: 470–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Weary GC, Merriam HG (1978) Litter decomposition in a red maple woodlot under natural conditions and under insecticide treatment. Ecology 59: 180–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Whitford WG, Repass R, Parker LW, Elkins NZ (1981) Effects of initial litter accumulation and climate on litter disappearance in a desert ecosystem.Am Midl Nat 108: 105–108Google Scholar
  82. Whittaker JB, Warrington S (1985) An experimental field-study of different levels of insect herbivory induced by Formica rufa predation on sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). 3. Effects on tree growth. J Appl Ecol 22: 797–811Google Scholar
  83. Young TP, Okello BD (1998) Relaxation of an induced defense after exclusion of herbivores: spines on Acacia drepanolobium. Oecologia 115: 508–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Siemann
  • W. P. Carson
  • W. E. Rogers
  • W. W. Weisser

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations