Conserving vedalia beetle, Rodolia cardinalis (Mulsant) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), in citrus: a continuing challenge as new insecticides gain registration

J Econ Entomol. 2003 Oct;96(5):1388-98. doi: 10.1093/jee/96.5.1388.


The effects of insecticides used for California citrus pest management were evaluated using larval and adult stages of vedalia beetle, Rodolia cardinalis (Mulsant). This predatory beetle is essential for control of cottony cushion scale Icerya purchasi (Williston) (Homoptera: Margarodidae) in San Joaquin Valley citrus. When adult beetles were exposed to treated citrus leaves, adult survival was significantly reduced by the foliar neonicotinoid imidacloprid and the pyrethroid cyfluthrin. Progeny production was significantly reduced by imidacloprid, cyfluthrin, fenpropathrin, and buprofezin. Buprofezin, pyriproxifen, and foliar imidacloprid also significantly reduced successful development of larvae into the adult stage. When vedalia stages were fed insecticide-treated cottony cushion scale reared on Pittosporum tobira (Thunb.) Ait, toxic effects were more severe than contact toxicity alone. Adult beetle survival was most profoundly reduced by the pyrethroids and to a lesser extent the foliar neonicotinoids acetamiprid and imidacloprid. Progeny production and larval development to adulthood were reduced by all insecticides but were most severely affected by pyriproxifen and the pyrethroids. Systemically applied neonicotinoids were toxic to vedalia larvae feeding on cottony cushion scale that had ingested these insecticides. These data demonstrate that IGRs, neonicotinoid insecticides, and pyrethroid insecticides have a significant, negative impact on vedalia beetles. Depending on the rate of insecticide used, the number and timing of applications, and the level of coverage of the tree, disruption of vedalia can be minimized. However, the situation is made difficult when pests such as citrus thrips Scirtothrips citri (Moulton) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), forktailed bush katydid Scuddaria furcata Brunner von Wattenwyl (Orthoptera: Tettigoiniidae), or glassy-winged sharpshooter Homalodisca coagulata Say (Homoptera: Cicadellidae) require these pesticide treatments during periods of vedalia beetle activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Citrus sinensis / growth & development*
  • Coleoptera / drug effects
  • Coleoptera / physiology*
  • Hemiptera
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Pest Control, Biological*


  • Insecticides