Dr. Arthur W. Lindquist, 78, an authority on insect control and a former chief of the Insects Affecting Man and Animals branch of the Department of Agriculture, died Tuesday at the Lindsborg Community Hospital in Lindsborg, Kan. He had a heart ailment.

Dr. Lindquist joined Agriculture in Uvalde, Texas, in 1931, and later worked for the department in Clear Lake, Calif. During World War II, he was project leader of the Insects Affecting Man and Animals Research Laboratory in Orlando, Fla. There he supervised the development of ways in which the military could use DDT, which was discovered during the war, to control mosquitoes and other insects.

From 1946 to 1953, he was stationed in Corvallis, Ore., and then was transferred to USDA headquarters in Washington as head of the insect program. During his years here, he helped develop the sterile-male method of controlling screw flies that affected livestock in the Southeastern United States.

The technique involved growing screwworm flies in laboratories and sterilizing them by radiation. The insects then were released in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Since the flies were sterile, their matings with flies grown in the wild produced no offspring. The result was the virtual eradication of the pests and savings for livestock growers that were estimated in 1961 to be as high as $20 million a year.

Dr. Lindquist also conducted experiments to try to control other insects through sterilization.

He retired in 1962 and moved to his hometown, Lindsborg, Kan. Since leaving the government he had served as a consultant to the United Nations on various projects in this country and abroad.

Dr. Lindquist graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg and then earned a master's degree in entomology from Kansas State University. He later was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bethany.

Survivors include his wife, Juanita, of Lindsborg; two sons, Donald, of Washington, and Roger W., of Corvallis, Ore; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.