Estimating ecotoxicological effects of pesticide drift on nontarget arthropods in field hedgerows

Environ Toxicol Chem. 2009 Apr;28(4):853-63. doi: 10.1897/08-260R.1.


When hedgerows grow in orchards where pesticides are applied, they can play a double role: Providing a barrier for chemical spray drift and as a refuge for beneficial arthropods such as pollinators and predators. Effectiveness of hedgerows as barriers to drift depends mainly on canopy density (that can be estimated through optical porosity) and wind speed. When optical porosity is low, the hedgerow can intercept a significant amount of spray drift and act as an effective barrier, but the intercepted pesticide can negatively affect the beneficial arthropods living there. A drift model was used to simulate drift in a hedgerow- vineyard system, and a deposition distribution model was used to calculate the pesticide spatial pattern distribution on a hedgerow with different optical porosity and wind speed conditions. The possible ecotoxicological effects were estimated for 28 active ingredients with different median lethal rates for two nontarget arthropods, Aphidius rhopalosiphi and Typhlodromus pyri. A spatialized risk assessment for a hedgerow is suggested to improve procedures based on application rate, standard drift, and vegetation distribution values, as in the hazard quotient approach. An alternative method for calculation of the exposure is also proposed, with a step-by-step example of a toxicity/exposure ratio calculation. The results highlighted the importance of the spatial pattern of drift and proved that a hedgerow can be an effective barrier against spray drift. Analysis of the toxicity/exposure ratio values showed that a hedgerow can continue its shelter and feeding function for nontarget arthropods when low-toxicity pesticides are used, there is no significant wind interference, or both.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aphids / drug effects*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Ecotoxicology*
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Mites / drug effects*
  • Models, Biological
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Trees*


  • Pesticides