Being one of the first generation neonicotinoids, nitenpyram has seen extensible commercial use since its introduction, including pest control in agriculture. While the development of newer generation nicotinoids has caused a decrease in its use, a Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA) report still judged it as an ecologically viable treatment in pest control projects such as Integrated Pest management (IPM). This is due to its lower toxicity and high uptake in plants in relation to soil as opposed to other commercially used neonicotinoids.
Nitenpyram has been used on many commercial crops, such as cotton and corn,and can be applicated in various ways. Commonly used techniques are dusting and seed treatment. Seed treatment allows for a long lasting immunity to insects damaging the crops. The use of nitenpyram has been shown to be highly effective in protecting crops, as it's generally less toxic for non-target organisms, while killing off crop-destroying insects. While usage is still common, unlike other neonicotinoids, the global market share for nitenpyram seems to decrease based on product sale data from 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.The reason for this is not yet fully understood, as other first generation neonicotinoids do not seem to follow the same trend, and nitenpyram is known to be less toxic to non-target organisms as compared to the compounds of the same generation.
However, the decrease of use could possibly be explained through the formation of resistance in various insect species.In a study conducted on nine commonly used nicotinoids, nitenpyram was found to have the greatest increase in resistance of the group within brown planthoppers, a common agricultural pest, between 2011-2012. A substantial increase of resistance was also found in Aphis gossypii or the cotton aphid, as compared to other compounds such as Imidacloprid.
Due to its use on pollen carrying plants, nitenpyram has been linked to a decrease in population of pollinators such as honey bees, wild bees and butterflies.Other non-target organisms, such as earthworms, are also reported to be negatively affected by nitenpyram. Plants themselves do not seem to have a negative response, as they do not possess nicotine nACh receptors.
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