Would you please tell me if the insecticide called temephos is toxic to earth worms? I been making a compost and I'm planning to get worms to produce humus, but a lady came to inspect my house against mosquitoes to prevent break- bone fever and accidentaly drop some temephos in my compost bin, she said it's not toxic, but I'd like to be sure before feeding the worms. Thank you

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G'Day Gina:
According to http://www.indiamart.com/gharda/agricul … cides.html temephos has low toxicity to fish, moderate to low toxicity to birds, and negligible toxicity to bees in aerial application. No noticeable effects on non-target organisms were reported. According to http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/aeru/footprint … ts/618.htm temephos has no toxicity to earthworms. That is NOT to say that this insecticide has NO EFFECT on earthworms; e.g., at moderate concentrations it appears to effect cholinesterase activity (cholinesterase is the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, which is a major neurotransmitter) in the earthworm (see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18206236) so it is possible that the worms’ beneficial and essential functions in the soil ecosystem could be altered, depending on the amount of insecticide dropped into your compost bin. Based on temephos’s very low solubility in water, a half-life in soil of 18-30 days has been estimated (e.g., see http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/temephos.htm). Hope this helps.

Last edited by Steve Lolait (1st Oct 2010 10:50:38)