Scriber, J. M. 2004. Non-target impacts of forest defoliator management options: Decision for no spraying may have worse impacts on non-target Lepidoptera that Bacillus thuringiensis insecticides. Journal of Insect Conservation 8:241-261.
Management programs for major forest defoliators such as gypsy moths or forest tent caterpillars, and crop pests such as the European corn borer have shifted from broad-spectrum insecticides to more environmentally benign microbial pesticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis (foliage sprays and transgenic toxin expression in plant tissues). Phytochemically resistant host plants and natural enemies have been used as alternative pest management strategies (including generalist tachinid ﬂies such as Compsilura, viruses, microsporidians, and fungi), but all of these have some non-target impacts, as described from literature review. A sequence of lab and ﬁeld studies were conducted to determine non-target impacts on native Lepidoptera in North America. The conclusions reached are that a decision not to spray Bt pesticides (i.e. to allow defoliation and natural pest outbreaks to run their course) could be as bad or worse for non-target Lepidoptera as the microbial insecticides would be. The important concept that must be maintained is that all pest management programs have some risk of negative non-target impacts, but it is the magnitude and relative importance that will remain the most critical issue for environmental impacts and pest management.
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