Nitrates and herbicides cause higher mortality than the traditional organic fertilizers on the grain beetle, Tenebrio molitor

Aurora M. Castilla, Tom Dauwe, Isabel Mora, Jim Malone, Raimon Guitart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


We examined experimentally whether fertilizers or herbicides commonly used by farmers affect mortality of the adult grain beetle Tenebrio molitor. After a period of 4 weeks in direct contact with all treatments, a higher percentage of mortality occurred in contact with nitrates than with pig manure or turkey litter. Herbicides (a mixture of glyphosate and 2,4-d) caused 100% mortality. Our results also indicate that more beetles escaped from the herbicides and nitrate treatments than from the others, suggesting some kind of behavioural avoidance of toxic environments. The traditional organic fertilizers appear to be less toxic than inorganic fertilizers for Tenebrio molitor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-105
Number of pages5
JournalBulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • 2,4-d
  • Beetle behavior
  • Farming management
  • Glyphosate
  • Insect conservation
  • Nitrates
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Yellow mealworm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution
  • Toxicology

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