An Inexpensive Feeding Bioassay Technique for Stored-Product Insects.

Clark, E.L., Isitt, R., Plettner, E., Fields, P.G., and Huber, D. (2014). "An Inexpensive Feeding Bioassay Technique for Stored-Product Insects.", Journal of Economic Entomology, 107(1), pp. 455-461. doi : 10.1603/EC13283  Access to full text


We used the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum Herbst (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), to compare three feeding bioassay techniques using flour disks. The area (scanner or digital photographs) and mass (sensitive balance) of the same flour disks were measured daily for 1 or 2 wk to assess feeding by insects. The loss in mass and area over 4 h was measured, as some variation over time was noticed in the disks with no insects feeding on them. The gravimetric method correlated well with both measurements of the area for the disks held in a growth chamber: scanner (R{sup}2{/sup} = 0.96), digital photography (R{sup}2{/sup} = 0.96). There was also a high correlation (R{sup}2{/sup} = 0.86) between the disk weight and area scanned at normal lab conditions. There were differences in the percentage of the disks remaining over time depending on the temperature and whether they were weighed or scanned. Measuring the mass of the disks resulted in a relatively larger percent of disk remaining compared with the scanned area. Mass measurements required a sensitive balance, handling of the disks and the insects, and appeared slightly more sensitive to humidity and temperature changes over time. Scanning the disks requires flat bed scanner access but less handling of both insects and disks. Digital photographs could be taken quickly, requiring less equipment, although photographs had to be further processed to determine area. Scanning or taking digital photographs of flour disk area was an effective technique for measuring insect feeding.

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