Use genetically modified crops which produce pesticide to replace conventional pesticide application
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
View assessment score
Hide assessment score
How is the evidence assessed?
Background information and definitions
Drift of insecticides with aerial application, such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), has been recorded as far as 3 km downwind, and spraying reduces the abundance and survival of a wide range of butterflies and moths (Scriber 2004). The use of genetically modified crops, which can produce pesticides themselves, reduces the need for chemical applications, and may result in an overall reduction in the harm caused to non-target species, including butterflies and moths (Scriber 2004).
Note that genetically modified plants which produce pesticides are still harmful to butterflies and moths (see Scriber 2004 for examples).
Scriber J.M. (2004) Non-target impacts of forest defoliator management options: Decision for no spraying may have worse impacts on non-target Lepidoptera than Bacillus thuringiensis insecticides. Journal of Insect Conservation, 8, 241–261.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A controlled study (year not specified) in a laboratory (location not specified) (Scriber 2004) found that pollen from genetically modified maize expressing the Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk) toxin against European corn borer Ostrinia nubilalis did not reduce the growth and survival of eastern tiger swallowtail Papilio glaucus or spicebush swallowtail P. troilus caterpillars more than pollen from non-genetically modified maize. The growth and survival of both eastern tiger swallowtail and spicebush swallowtail caterpillars exposed to a large quantity of genetically modified pollen (eastern tiger, survival: 83%, growth: 0.15 mg/mg/day; spicebush, survival: 81%, growth: 0.15) were similar to those exposed to the same quantity of non-genetically modified pollen (eastern tiger, survival: 88%, growth: 0.15 mg/mg/day; spicebush, survival: 83%, growth: 0.14 mg/mg/day), but both were lower than caterpillars which were not exposed to any maize pollen (eastern tiger, survival: 100%, growth: 0.30 mg/mg/day; spicebush, survival: 100%, growth: 0.30 mg/mg/day). The growth rates of caterpillars exposed to smaller quantities of genetically modified or non-genetically modified pollen were similar to those exposed to large quantities (data not presented). Forty-two eastern tiger swallowtail and 28 spicebush swallowtail caterpillars were fed tulip tree Liriodendron tulipfera or spicebush Lindera benzoin leaves dusted with either genetically modified or non-genetically modified maize pollen, at both 1% and 10% fresh leaf weight, or with no pollen dusting. Survival and growth rate were measured after 48 hours.Study and other actions tested
Where has this evidence come from?
List of journals searched by synopsis
All the journals searched for all synopses
This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:Butterfly and Moth Conservation
Butterfly and Moth Conservation - Published 2022
Butterfly and Moth Synopsis