Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: West Virginia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

West Virginia Project

Effects of Imidacloprid Treatment of Hemlocks on Aquatic Ecosystems: Is the Cure Worse than the Disease?

October 2016 - September 2019


Participating Agencies

  • USGS-NPS Water Quality Partnership Program

The invasive exotic insect, hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), is decimating hemlock ecosystems and treatment with the neonicitonoid, imidacloprid, is frequently used to control HWA. Our study examined the risks and non-target impacts of imidacloprid treatments in riparian hemlock forests on water quality, benthic macroinvertebrates, and stream salamanders. Results could be used to reassess the HWA treatment programs in our study areas (NPS parks and Monongahela NF) as well as other lands that have HWA treatment programs. We found that stream salamanders bioaccumulated imidacloprid.

Research Publications Publication Date
Crayton, S.M., P.B. Wood, D.J. Brown, A.R. Millikin, T.J. Simpson, K.M. Ku, and YL Park. 2020. Bioaccumulation of the Pesticide Imidacloprid in Stream Organisms and Sublethal Effects on Salamanders. Global Ecology and Conservation 24 (2020) e01292. November 2020
Presentations Presentation Date
Crayton, S.M., P.B. Wood, D.J. Brown, L. Paul, Y.L. Park. Effects of Imidacloprid Exposure on Aquatic and Terrestrial Salamander Abundances. The Wildlife Society Annual Conference. Sept 27 - Oct 1, 2020, Louisville, KY. September 2020
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Crayton, S.M. 2019. Stream Salamander and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Community Responses to Imidacloprid Exposure. MS Thesis, West Virginia University, Morgantown. Aug 2019. August 2019