• biphasic concentration–response;
  • hormoligosis;
  • insecticidal stress;
  • insecticide ecotoxicology;
  • pesticide-mediated homeostatic regulation;
  • sublethal effects


Ecological backlashes such as insecticide resistance, resurgence and secondary pest outbreaks are frequent problems associated with insecticide use against arthropod pest species. The last two have been particularly important in sparking interest in the phenomenon of insecticide-induced hormesis within entomology and acarology. Hormesis describes a biphasic dose–response relationship that is characterized by a reversal of response between low and high doses of a stressor (e.g. insecticides). Although the concept of insecticide-induced hormesis often does not receive sufficient attention, or has been subject to semantic confusion, it has been reported in many arthropod pest species and natural enemies, and has been linked to pest outbreaks and potential problems with insecticide resistance. The study of hormesis remains largely neglected in entomology and acarology. Here, we examined the concept of insecticide-induced hormesis in arthropods, its functional basis and potential fitness consequences, and its importance in arthropod pest management and other areas. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry