Effects of a naturally occurring and a synthetic synergist on toxicity of three insecticides and a phytochemical to navel orangeworm (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) Article

cited authors

  • Niu, G; Pollock, HS; Lawrance, A; Siegel, JP; Berenbaum, MR

fiu authors


  • The navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), is the most destructive lepidopteran pest of almonds [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A.Webb] and pistachios (Pistacia vera L.) in California and is a serious problem in figs (Ficus carica L.) and walnuts (Juglans spp.). In addition to direct damage, larval feeding leaves nuts vulnerable to infection by Aspergillus spp., fungi that produce toxic aflatoxins. A potentially safe and sustainable approach for managing navel orangeworm in orchards may be to use natural essential oil synergists to interfere with this insect's ability to detoxify insecticides and phytochemicals. We tested the effects of a naturally occurring plant-derived chemical, myristicin, and a synthetic inhibitor of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s), piperonyl butoxide, on the toxicity of three insecticides (α-cypermethrin, τ-fluvalinate, and methoxyfenozide [Intrepid]) and a phytochemical (xanthotoxin) to A. transitella. Piperonyl butoxide significantly synergized α-cypermethrin and τ-fluvalinate, whereas myristicin synergized only α-cypermethrin. Piperonyl butoxide synergized the toxicity of xanthotoxin as early as 72 h after exposure, whereas myristicin synergized xanthotoxin after 120 h. In view of these findings and the limited availability of environmentally safe synthetic insecticides for sustainable management, particularly in organic orchards, myristicin is a potential field treatment in combination with insecticides to reduce both navel orangeworm survival and aflatoxin contamination of nuts. In addition, this study demonstrates that in A. transitella the insect growth regulator methoxyfenozide is not detoxified by P450s. © 2012 Entomological Society of America.

publication date

  • April 1, 2012

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 410

end page

  • 417


  • 105


  • 2