BACKGROUND: Chlorantraniliprole, the first anthranilic diamide insecticide labeled for turf, combines strong selective activity against key pests with low vertebrate toxicity. The hypothesis that it is less disruptive to beneficial invertebrates and their ecosystem services than are other prevailing insecticide classes was tested. Plots in golf course settings were treated with chlorantraniliprole, or with a representative nicotinoid (clothianidin), pyethroid (bifenthrin) or a combination (clothianidin–bifenthrin) formulation. Non-target effects were assessed via pitfall traps (epigeal predators), Tullgren funnel extraction (soil microarthropods), hand sorting (earthworms), counting ant mounds and earthworm casts on tees and putting greens, assessing predation on sentinel pest eggs and comparing grass clipping decomposition in treated versus untreated turf.
RESULTS: Chlorantraniliprole had little or, in most cases, no impact on predatory or soil invertebrates, predation or decomposition. Each of the other insecticides temporarily reduced abundance and activity of one or more predator groups. Clothianidin and the clothianidin–bifenthrin combination retarded grass clipping decomposition, and the combination suppressed earthworms and casts more than did carbaryl, a toxic standard.
CONCLUSION: Chlorantraniliprole is compatible with conservation biocontrol and a good fit for industry initiatives to use relatively less toxic pesticides. One caveat is that its use on golf courses may require targeted management of ant mounds and earthworm casts that are suppressed as a side effect by some less selective insecticides. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry