Oviposition bioassay responses of Culex tarsalis and Culex quinquefasciatus to neem products containing azadirachtin

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Abstract

Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) products have been shown to exert pesticidal properties against a variety of insect species. In mosquito control programs, such products may have the potential to be used successfully as larvicides. In exploring other advantages of neem products, we studied the oviposition responses of Culex tarsalis Coquillett and Cx. quinquefasciatus Say to two experimental azadirachtin (AZ) formulations, wettable powder Azad™ WP10 (WP) and emulsifiable concentrate Azad™ EC4.5 (EC). Gravid Cx. tarsalis exhibited a distinct preference for the neem suspension of the WP, where significantly more egg rafts were collected from the treatment than from the control. The minimum effective AZ concentration for this activity was 0.5 ppm. The aged suspensions from 1–7 days at 0.5 and 1 ppm AZ were more active in eliciting oviposition responses in Cx. tarsalis than the fresh preparations. This activity of the aged suspensions lasted up to 14 and 21 days at 0.5 and 1 ppm AZ, respectively. Negative ovipositional responses were indicated in the tests of the EC vs. Cx. tarsalis, as well as both neem formulations vs. Cx. quinquefasciatus. In the tests of the EC formulation, significantly less gravid females were trapped by oviposition cups in the treatment than in the control, and in the tests of the WP significantly less egg rafts were collected from the treatment than from the control. The minimum effective concentrations for oviposition avoidance activity were 5 ppm AZ for Cx. tarsalis and 10 ppm AZ for Cx. quinquefasciatus, which lasted up to 1 and 4 days for these two species respectively. Neem products potentially used as mosquito larvicides may have many additional benefits in mosquito control programs, the oviposition modification noted in the current studies is one such example.

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