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SPIDER WEBS ARE EFFICIENT COLLECTORS OF AGROCHEMICAL SPRAY

Pesticide Science

Abstract

Spiders are important arthropod predators in natural and agricultural environments. This laboratory study aims to determine the uptake of agrochemical spray by orb webs. Orbs of Araneus diadematus were exposed under controlled conditions to sprays of variable pressure, volume, forward speed and droplet size. Using a tracer dye we determined, by photospectrometry, the amount of spray collected under different conditions which enabled us to calculate the exact volume collected by webs. The spraying treatment simulated four different field practices as well as drift to the field edge. In all cases webs were excellent collectors of spray. Regarding the pure area of the threads, they collected one order of magnitude more of the spray than paper strips did. Moreover, webs were especially efficient in collecting small droplets. We conclude that orb webs (and the spiders who ingest them) are severely exposed to agricultural sprays. Furthermore, due to the uptake of drift, even webs in hedgerows and at field margins may receive high levels of pesticides. The risk of exposing these beneficial arthropods to spray might be reduced by better control of droplet size.

Author(s): SAMU, F; MATTHEWS, GA; LAKE, D; VOLLRATH, F

Journal: Pesticide Science

Year: 1992

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