Mowing mitigates bioactivity of neonicotinoid insecticides in nectar of flowering lawn weeds and turfgrass guttation

Jonathan L. Larson, Carl T. Redmond, Daniel A. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Systemic neonicotinoid insecticides are used to control turfgrass insect pests. The authors tested their transference into nectar of flowering lawn weeds or grass guttation droplets, which, if high enough, could be hazardous to bees or other insects that feed on such exudates. The authors applied imidacloprid or clothianidin to turf with white clover, followed by irrigation, and used liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to analyze residues in clover blooms that were directly sprayed during application or that formed after the first mowing. Imidacloprid residues in guttation fluid from field-grown creeping bentgrass were assessed similarly. The authors used Orius insidiosus, a small anthrocorid bug that is sensitive to dietary neonicotinoids, as a bioindicator of the exudates' toxicity. Nectar from directly sprayed clover blooms contained 5493ng/g to 6588ng/g imidacloprid or 2882ng/g to 2992ng/g clothianidin and was acutely toxic to Orius. Residues were 99.4% to 99.8% lower in nectar of blooms formed after mowing, and nontoxic to Orius. Imidacloprid residues in turfgrass guttation averaged 88ng/g at 1 wk after treatment, causing some intoxication of Orius, but declined to 23ng/g within 3 wk. Systemic transference of neonicotinoids into white clover nectar and creeping bentgrass guttation appears relatively low and transitory. The hazard to nontarget insects via nectar of flowering weeds in treated lawns can be mitigated by adhering to label precautions and mowing to remove blooms if they are inadvertently sprayed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 SETAC.


  • Bees
  • Guttation
  • Nectar
  • Neonicotinoid
  • Turfgrass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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