As a consequence of the widespread use of chemical insecticides in the control of insect pests in grain warehouses and in the food industry, insecticide resistance in grain insect pests has greatly increased all over the world. The goal of this work was to investigate insecticide resistance levels in Italian populations of Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) and Tribolium confusum du Val collected in grain and food storage facilities of 18 different localities. Six contact insecticides were tested on seven populations of the red flour beetle and on eleven populations of the confused flour beetle. Topical application bioassays were carried out on adults. Dose-mortality lines were estimated to determine the resistance ratios for each insecticide and population. A Principal Components Analysis (PCA) was performed on a data matrix describing the pattern of occurrence of the RR values of each insecticide across the set of data provided by 18 different sites. In both species, the slopes of LD-lines range within a rather narrow interval with respect to susceptible strains, while the highest RR value can be observed in a population of the confused flour beetle from Molise assayed with deltamethrin. The distribution of the experimental points in the PCA graph suggests that T. castaneum populations were generally more susceptible to malathion, diazinon and pirethrins than the T. confusum populations. RR values obtained in bioassays suggest that insecticide resistance is not a widespread problem in Italian strains of T. castaneum and T. confusum, but there are populations in which the phenomenon exists. An extended monitoring activity could, therefore, be crucially important in adopting proper control measures for pest management.
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