BACKGROUND: Encarsia formosa Gahan is the most important parasitoid exploited for the control of whitefly pests of vegetable crops. However, the non-target effects of recently developed insecticides for controlling whiteflies toward this biocontrol agent is little documented. Here we evaluated the susceptibility of E. formosa adults and juveniles to eight commonly used insecticides against whiteflies. RESULTS: Residual toxicity tests on glass showed that E. formosa adults were susceptible (over 98% mortality after 6 h treated) to field concentrations of the tested neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, acetamiprid, nitenpyram and thiamethoxam), abamectin, cyantraniliprole, and sulfoxaflor at their field concentrations. Pyriproxyfen was harmless to both adult and pupae of E. formosa. A risk quotient analysis showed that toxicity of pyriproxyfen to E. formosa adults was the lowest, followed by acetamiprid and cyantraniliprole. In the leaf residues test, mortality of E. formosa adults under all insecticides decreased when the residue age increased. Interestingly, E. formosa experiencing contact with the residues of most insecticides, except pyriproxyfen and abamectin, parasitized significantly more hosts 5-days after treatment, suggesting a hormetic effect on parasitism. CONCLUSION: The risk assessment of insecticides indicated that pyriproxyfen and cyantraniliprole were the least toxic to E. formosa. Our results suggest that the inclusion of the insecticides in sustainable integrated pest management programs of whiteflies should be carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry.
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