Nitrates and Herbicides Cause Higher Mortality Than the Traditional Organic Fertilizers on the Grain Beetle, Tenebrio Molitor

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2010 Jan;84(1):101-5. doi: 10.1007/s00128-009-9883-5. Epub 2009 Oct 7.


We examined experimentally whether fertilizers or herbicides commonly used by farmers affect mortality of the adult grain beetle Tenebrio molitor. After a period of 4 weeks in direct contact with all treatments, a higher percentage of mortality occurred in contact with nitrates than with pig manure or turkey litter. Herbicides (a mixture of glyphosate and 2,4-D: ) caused 100% mortality. Our results also indicate that more beetles escaped from the herbicides and nitrate treatments than from the others, suggesting some kind of behavioural avoidance of toxic environments. The traditional organic fertilizers appear to be less toxic than inorganic fertilizers for Tenebrio molitor.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fertilizers*
  • Herbicides*
  • Insect Control / methods*
  • Insecticides*
  • Nitrates*
  • Tenebrio*


  • Fertilizers
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Nitrates