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© 2019, The Author(s). Densities of insect pests in agricultural communities may be affected by herbicides commonly used for weed management via several routes. First, herbicides may cause direct mortality to insects present both during and immediately following application. Second, herbicides may induce plant defenses that increase resistance to insect herbivores. Third, herbicides may alter the quantity and composition of weed populations, which in turn may change the structure of insect communities found subsequently in the crop. This study was designed to investigate the effects of an array of herbicides on the densities of several major pests found in rice in the southern United States. These pests included the rice water weevil, Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus Kuschel (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), the rice stinkbug, Oebalus pugnax (Fabricius) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), and a stemborer complex comprised of three lepidopteran species (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Insects directly exposed to herbicides experienced high mortality; while those fed leaf material that had been exposed to herbicides did not. Herbicide application did not significantly increase resistance in rice to subsequent herbivore infestation. Results provided modest support for the third hypothesis represented by positive correlations between weed densities and insect pest densities.

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Scientific Reports