The red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) is an important pest of date palms in many regions of the world. This paper reports the first survey of insecticide resistance in field populations of R. ferrugineus in Pakistan which were collected from seven date palm growing areas across Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces, Pakistan. The resistance was assessed by the diet incorporation method against the formulated commonly used chemical insecticides profenophos, imidacloprid, chlorpyrifos, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, spinosad, lambda-cyhalothrin and a fumigant phosphine. Elevated levels of resistance were recorded for cypermethrin, deltamethrin and phosphine after a long history of insecticide use in Pakistan. Resistance Ratios (RRs) were 63- to 79-fold for phosphine, 16- to 74-fold for cypermethrin, 13- to 58-fold for deltamethrin, 2.6- to 44-fold for profenophos, 3- to 24-fold for chlorpyrifos, 2- to 12-fold for lambda-cyhalothrin and 1- to 10-fold for spinosad compared to a susceptible control line. Resistant R. ferrugineus populations were mainly found in southern Punjab and to some extent in KPK. The populations from Bahawalpur, Vehari, Layyah and Dera Ghazi Khan were most resistant to chemical insecticides, while all populations exhibited high levels of resistance to phosphine. Of the eight agents tested, lower LC50 and LC90 values were recorded for spinosad and lambda-cyhalothrin. These results suggest that spinosad and lambda-cyhalothrin exhibit unique modes of action and given their better environmental profile, these two insecticides could be used in insecticide rotation or assist in phasing out the use of older insecticides. A changed pattern of both insecticides can be used sensibly be recommended without evidence of dose rates and frequencies used.
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