BACKGROUND: Estimates of arthropod population size may paradoxically increase following insecticide applications. Research with ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) suggests that such unusual results reflect increased arthropod movement and capture in traps rather than real changes in population size. However, it is unclear whether direct (hyperactivity) or indirect (prey-mediated) mechanisms produce increased movement.
RESULTS: Video tracking of Scarites quadriceps Chaudior indicated that brief exposure to lambda-cyhalothrin or tefluthrin increased total distance moved, maximum velocity and percentage of time moving. Repeated measurements on individual beetles indicated that movement decreased 240 min after initial lambda-cyhalothrin exposure, but increased again following a second exposure, suggesting hyperactivity could lead to increased trap captures in the field. Two field experiments in which ground beetles were collected after lambda-cyhalothrin or permethrin application attempted to detect increases in population size estimates as a result of hyperactivity. Field trials used mark–release–recapture methods in small plots and natural carabid populations in larger plots, but found no significant short-term (<6 day) increases in beetle trap captures.
CONCLUSION: The disagreement between laboratory and field results suggests mechanisms other than hyperactivity may better explain unusual changes in population size estimates. When traps are used as a primary sampling tool, unexpected population-level effects should be interpreted carefully or with additional data less influenced by arthropod activity. Published in 2007 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.