What insects should growers be worried about creeping into their crops this growing season? One Syngenta expert has been studying trends and recommends growers keep their eyes out for these insects on his 2018 pest watch list.
Meade McDonald, Syngenta insecticide product lead, has spent most of his 23-year career in agriculture seeing the damage insects can cause to crops.
“When it comes to insects and the vast number of crops they affect each year, the numbers can be pretty overwhelming,” McDonald said. “That’s why Syngenta literally takes a ‘seeing is believing’ approach. By getting out in the field and talking directly with pest control advisers, retailers, growers, university extension, and other ag professionals, we are much better equipped to not only understand the problems, but to also develop the best pest control solutions for each farm.”
Based on his experiences, McDonald believes these are the pests, by crop, that may cause growers the most concern this year:
- Corn: Corn rootworm (CRW)
- Soybeans: Soybean looper and soybean aphids
- Cotton: Cotton bollworm, lygus, aphids, and mites
- Citrus: Citrus rust mites, citrus leafminers, Asian citrus psyllid, and citrus thrips
- Vegetables: Diamondback moth, armyworms, fruitworms, melonworms, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, and thrips
- Potatoes: Colorado potato beetles and potato psyllids
- Tree nuts: Navel orangeworm, peach twig borer, spider mites, and codling moth
McDonald notes that knowing key pests is just the first step; developing an insect-management strategy for crops based on scouting, use of crop rotation, and field history are critical next steps that enable you to choose the right product for the job.
As with weeds, insects are becoming resistant to certain chemistries, elevating the importance of both new mode-of-action discovery and comprehensive management strategies that will help preserve existing technologies. McDonald cites the Colorado potato beetle and the soybean aphid as good examples.
“For years in specific parts of the country, certain modes of action have offered effective control against Colorado potato beetle, but now don’t offer the same levels of control, indicating some populations are developing resistance,” he said. “Products with new modes of action, such as Minecto Pro insecticide, are a great fit following neonicotinoid foundation programs for control of Colorado potato beetle.”
Protecting crops against multiple pest populations that overlap or occur simultaneously is also important. That’s why Syngenta experts suggest applying a longer-residual, broader-spectrum insecticide, especially in vegetable and specialty crops, where visible pest damage can greatly reduce a grower’s bottom line.
Of course, choosing the right product to combat insects is just part of the solution. Growers also benefit from hands-on service and expertise.
“Every year, we screen new compounds that offer novel modes of action in easy-to-use formulations that offer growers the performance and convenience they need to harvest a high-yielding and high-quality crop,” McDonald said. “We’re always listening to growers’ concerns and looking for ways to make their lives a little easier.”