Opium Poppies Need Pesticide Applications


Opium Poppies

The opium poppy is cultivated in different parts of the world such as Tasmania, India, Pakistan, Slovakia, France, Spain, Yugoslavia and Italy.  The fruits of the poppy are rounded capsules. The liquid (milky latex) obtained after lancing the capsules contains opiates which are dried to produce raw opium, used for processing medicinal drugs such as codeine and morphine. The commercial production of opium poppies is adversely affected by uncontrolled weeds, insects and disease organisms. Commercial growers rely on pesticide applications as described in a recent article about poppy growing in Slovakia.

“The cropping system of poppy has seen important changes in recent years. In the past, growing this crop required a great deal of manual labor connected with singling, hoeing and particularly capsule collecting. At present, all operations of the large scale cropping system, from sowing to harvest, are fully mechanized. Registered pesticides are used to control weeds, diseases and pests.

Pre-emergent herbicides Callisto 480 SC (mesotrione), or Lentipur 500 FW + Command 36 CS (chlortoluron + clomazone) are applied within 3 days after sowing. Due to slow initial growth, the post-emergent application of herbicide in growth phase of 4-6 true leaves is usually necessary.

Protection against poppy root weevil is realized through seed treatment with Cruiser OSR preparation. …A dangerous pest of poppy is poppy weevil, against which the protection is aimed at the time of “hook stage”. Among the registered insecticides, Mospilan 20 SP (acetamiprid) and Nurelle D (chlorpyrifos + cypermethrin) are used.

Poppy downy mildew and poppy fire are considered to be the most dangerous diseases of poppy, in conditions of the Slovak Republic. Occurrence of downy mildew during the leaf rosette period is suppressed by seed treatment. …In the phase of stem elongation, application of Acrobat MZ WG (dimethomorph +mancozeb) is possible. In the “hook stage”, Discus (kresoxym-methyl) or Bumper Super (prochloraz + propiconazole) are used to suppress poppy fire on both leaves and capsules.”

Names: Fejer, J., and I. Salamon.
Affiliation: Presov University in Presov.
Title: Agro-Technology of the Poppy: Large-Scale Cultivation in Slovakia.
Source: Acta Hort. 2014. 1036:181-186.

Here Comes the Sunn…………..Pest

Sunn Pest

Normal Grain (L) versus Sunn Pest Damage to Grain (R)

The sunn pest are a group of insects representing several genera of the shield bug and stink bug families. The sunn pest lives for one year and produces a single generation per year. About three months are spent feeding in wheat fields. The rest of the year is spent resting and in hibernation on hillsides which are usually about 10-20 km from the wheat fields. In spring, the surviving adults migrate down to the wheat fields in one non-stop flight and, after feeding, mate and lay eggs. The adults of the next generation appear and feed intensively in order to accumulate fat reserves for the hibernation period. They return to the higher elevations following wheat harvest.

Sunn pest feeding on wheat results in yield loss as most of the kernel contents can be sucked out by the insect, resulting in smaller, lighter, and shriveled kernels. In addition, the sunn pest injects digestive enzymes to liquefy the wheat tissues into a nutrient-rich slurry.

In some countries, foliar applications of insecticides to control sunn pest are made by air by governments, while in others, ground sprays, partially supported by the government, are made by farmers. A single spray will often suffice to control populations effectively.

“One of the most significant limiting factors in the production of wheat and barley in many areas of the world is the Sunn pest, Eurygaster integriceps, which causes severe damage to cereal yield. This insect has been observed in >15 million ha of wheat and barley farms, which extend from northern Africa, throughout the Middle East and western Asia, to central Asia and some parts of Russia. The Sunn pest feeds preferentially on wheat. Thus, its damage to wheat is considerably greater than that to barley (i.E., it often causes losses of 20-30% in barley and 50-90% in wheat).

In recent years, considerable efforts have been made to biologically control this pest. However, pesticide application is the main method of Sunn pest control in areas where infestation is high.”

Author: Rahimi, V. and A. R. Bandani.
Affiliation: University of Tehran, Iran.
Title: Comparison of the effects of cereal and legume proteinaceous seed extracts on a-amylase activity and development of the Sunn pest.
Source: Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology. 2014. 17:7-11.

Insecticides Manage New Threat to Traditional St Patrick’s Day Meal

Bagrada Bugs

Bagrada Bugs

Every year around St Patrick’s Day, cabbage becomes a hit again thanks to the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage. There is typically a 50 to 75% increase in demand for green cabbage beginning about two weeks before the March 17 holiday. California leads the nation in cabbage production accounting for about 24% of total U.S. production. Most of the cabbage from California at this time of the year comes from the state’s southern coast and southwestern desert. In 2010, a new pest of cabbage, the Bagrada bug, made its grand entrance into these desert cabbage fields and threatened the availability of cabbage for St Patrick’s Day.

“2010 was a year that many winter cole crop vegetable growers in the Desert Southwest would rather forget, thanks to the bagrada bug which attacked plant seedlings en masse.

Since then, research conducted at the University of Arizona and the University of California has led to a better understanding of the pest, its biology, and has helped reduce yield and income losses for growers.

When the bagrada bug made its 2010 grand entrance, winter vegetable growers, pest control advisers, and entomologists were stunned.

“The pest caught us blind. Suddenly the bagrada bug was everywhere in the desert,” says John Palumbo, University of Arizona (UA) Extension specialist and entomologist based at the Yuma Agricultural Center.

The pest attacks the underside of leaves during the day, and hides at night in the soil and under dirt clods.

The bagrada bug can quickly destroy a seedling. In Palumbo’s trials, a single insect placed on a cotyledon killed the plant in about 60 hours under laboratory conditions.

In another lab test, small pots were lined up in a row, each containing one of 12 different vegetable seedlings. The bagrada passed right by the head lettuce to feast on cole crops. Its feeding favorites include green cabbage, red cabbage, and radish.

If the plant lives, the damaged plant develops multiple unmarketable small heads instead of a single large marketable head or floret.

First found in South Africa, the insect arrived in the western hemisphere in the U.S. in 2008 in California; possibly as a stow-a-way on a cargo ship arriving at the Port of Long Beach. The insect then scurried into neighboring Orange County and kept moving.

Palumbo has conducted several trials with synthetic insecticides and natural predators. While he said bio-control is a ways off, pyrethroid insecticides currently provide the most effective control.

“Newer pyrethroids on the market appear to be more consistent with good knockdown and residual control.”

Residual activity usually lasts about five days.

Looking to the future, Palumbo says the best insecticidal control of bagrada may lie in neonicotinoid seed treatments, based on trial findings.”

Author: Blake, C.
Affiliation: Reporter
Title: Researchers making strides against bagrada bug
Source: Western Farm Press. 2013-11-20. Available at: http://westernfarmpress.com/vegetables/researchers-making-strides-against-bagrada-bug

Nematicide Applications Could Increase Food Production in Africa


Nematodes are invertebrate roundworms that are second only to insects in the number of species in the animal kingdom. One cubic foot of soil may contain millions of individual nematodes. Nematodes feed on plant roots. Damage and low yields caused by nematodes frequently go unrecognized or are attributed to other causes. Research in Africa has demonstrated that controlling plant-parasitic nematodes can increase crop yields dramatically.

“Sweet pepper, the second most important vegetable crop in Niger, after onions is grown all over the country, but the region of Diffa alone accounts for over 85% of national production. The area planted in 2008 exceeds 7000 ha with a production estimated at 120000 t.

The production is mainly exported to Nigeria and procures substantial income to the people of the region of Diffa.

The average fruit yield of the crop is about 17 t/ha. This is very low compared to the potential of the crop. This low yield is partly due to diseases and pests pressure, namely the damage caused by plant-parasitic nematodes. …Yield losses caused by these nematodes can reach up to 60% in heavily infested sandy soils.

The study assessed the effectiveness of Savanem 20 EC (Ethoprophos, 200g/l), a newly introduced nematicide on the plant-parasitic nematodes associated with sweet pepper.

Savanem increased the average yield by 37.1% and Furadan by 20.6%.

Savanem 20 EC, at the dose of 50 L/ha is effective against the community of parasitic nematodes on sweet pepper.”

Authors: Adamou, H., et al.
Affiliation: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN)
Title: On-farm testing of savanem 20 EC (ethoprophos) for control of plant parasitic nematodes associated with pepper (Capsicum annuum) in tillaberi (Niger).
Source: Asian Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 2013. 5[4]:83-87.

Seed Treatments Could Increase Food Production in Africa


Seedling Disease: no treatment (L) seed treatment (R)

Seeds may be attacked by insects and pathogens once planted in the soil. Treating seed with insecticides and fungicides is commonplace in the U.S. and other developed countries. Contact insecticides and fungicides coated on the seed create a protective barrier on the seed that slows or stops the insects and pathogens from attacking the seed. In Africa, seed treatments are not widely-used to protect seeds planted by small-scale farmers and crop losses occur. Research shows that the use of seed treatments could substantially increase African crop production.

“Disease and insect attacks are an important constraint for crop productivity in the drylands of West Africa. A test was therefore included to find out whether treating seeds with a combined fungicide/insecticide could increase yields. The results showed that the treatment of seeds increased yields by 17% on average, compared with untreated seeds. A previous study showed that the average yield increase due to seed treatment with fungicide/insecticide was 30% for pearl millet in West Africa.

This study shows how low-cost options can increase agricultural productivity in the millet-producing areas of Mali.”

Authors: Aune, J. B., C. O. Traore, and S. Mamadou
Affiliation: Norwegian University of Life Science.
Title: Low-cost technologies for improved productivity of dryland farming in Mali.
Source: Outlook on Agriculture. 2012. 41[2]:103-108.

Consumers Want Perfect Sunflower Seeds as Snack Foods: Insecticides Make It Happen

Seed Weevil

Seed Weevil

The sunflower is the only row crop in North America that coexists with its native ancestors. When extensive commercial planting of sunflower began in the 1970s, many of the insects which evolved in native perennial sunflower seed species transferred to the cultivated crop. Red sunflower seed weevils deposit eggs in sunflower seeds and larvae feed on the developing sunflower kernels destroying a portion of the kernel. The larvae make an exit hole and exit the seeds in late summer. Research indicates that most seeds are only partially fed upon.

“Several years ago, a set of trade standards were developed for nonoil sunflower kernels. These standards stipulate there should be no more than 10 percent broken kernels; not more than 0.5 percent heat damage; and not more than two percent insect damage.

Economic populations of seed feeders such as the red and gray seed weevils, head moth and banded sunflower moth can inflict very serious damage if not controlled. But they commonly consume just a portion of the kernel, so those seeds often are not separated from other seeds during combining. “It’s very difficult to remove all insect damage from in-shell sunflower,” affirms Jim Krogh, president of Agway, Inc., of Grandin, N.D. “Yet it’s also difficult to explain to today’s consumer why there’s a hole in the seed they bought. The hole is unsightly; the kernel tastes bad. It’s a bad deal all around.”

Since it is an edible product, economic thresholds for confection flowers are much lower than for oil-types. One to two weevils per plant should trigger prompt insecticide treatment, based on current recommendations.”

Author: Lilleboe, D.
Affiliation: Writer
Title: Optimizing the quality of your confection crop
Source: The Sunflower. April/May 1998. Available online at: https://www.sunflowernsa.com/magazine/details.asp?ID=77&Cat=10

$17 Billion in Sales of Ornamental Plants in the US-Growers Have to Use Insecticides to Satisfy Consumers

Azalea Leafminer

Azalea Leafminer

Ornamental plants are big business in the US-$17 billion in retail sales. Ornamental plants provide visual beauty and reduce the stagnation that occurs in everyday work environments. Ornamentals may have a profound effect on observers or occupants. Several studies have shown that ornamentals have a positive impact on an individual’s well-being and emotional stability and may improve productivity. When purchasing an ornamental plant, consumers demand that they be free of insects and insect damage.

“The intensive nature of production and aesthetic quality requirements of producing ornamental plants supports the necessity of using pesticides to manage arthropod pests. The use of pesticides is vitally important to the ornamental industry in order economically to prevent the multitude of arthropod pests from damaging plants and at the same time produce quality plant material that may be purchased by consumers/homeowners. Furthermore, the use of pesticides allows ornamental producers successfully to compete in national and international markets.

…a single arthropod pest can significantly damage or vector a disease, rendering a crop unmarketable. As such, ornamental producers cannot wait for arthropod pest populations to build up to a critical level, and so, in actuality, pesticides serve as an ‘insurance policy’ to manage or regulate the diversity of arthropod pests so that they do not damage ornamental crops.

The aesthetic value and the consumer demand for high-quality ornamental crops necessitates the application of pesticides in order to protect crops from the myriad of arthropod pests encountered in ornamental production systems.”

Authors: Bethke, J. A., and Cloyd, R. A.
Affiliations: University of California, and Kansas State University.
Title: Pesticide use in ornamental production: what are the benefits?
Source: Pest Management Science. 2009. 65:345-350.

Hurricanes Increase the Need for Insecticides in Louisiana Sugarcane Fields

Fire Ant Killing Sugarcane Borer

Fire Ant Killing Sugarcane Borer

Louisiana is the top producing sugarcane state accounting for 40% of the nation’s sugarcane production. Approximately 3 billion pounds of raw sugar are produced annually by Louisiana sugar mills. The sugarcane borer is the most damaging insect pest of sugarcane in Louisiana. The larvae bore into the plant where they feed on the central tissue. Borers make tunnels up and down the stalk. The size and weight of the stalks are decreased. Sugarcane borers in Louisiana are controlled by an integrated system that consists of spraying insecticides, planting varieties with some resistance and by natural enemies of the borer. The most important natural enemy of the borer is the red imported fire ant. Typically, the predation of fire ants contributes an estimated savings of two insecticide sprays. However, when the sugarcane fields are flooded by hurricanes, the fire ants are negatively affected and insecticide use has to increase.

“On 24 September 2005, Hurricane Rita made landfall on the extreme southwestern coast of Louisiana near the border with Texas as a Category 3 hurricane.

Twelve thousand to 16,000 ha of sugarcane produced in south Louisiana were flooded by saltwater from Hurricane Rita storm surge.

During spring 2006, sugarcane growers and contracted agricultural consultants began observing that flooded areas seemingly had more [sugarcane borer] infestations, which might require earlier and more frequent insecticide applications for D. saccharalis control.

This study showed that growers had to treat more (2.4-fold increase) in zones impacted by the hurricane storm surge.

S. invicta [red imported fire ant] seemed to be negatively impacted 10-12 mo after the areawide habitat disruption caused by the storm surge flooding. When plunged into freshwater, S. invicta individuals gather and form floating clusters that can drift for more than a week without drowning. However… S. invicta is susceptible to saltwater, sinking within 30 min when in 3.5% saltwater (approximately equal to seawater), and within 48 h in 1% saltwater. …Susceptibility to saltwater flood and limited dispersal abilities may explain why S. invicta was negatively impacted by the storm surge and slow to recover back to prehurricane population levels.

This study suggests that Hurricane Rita disturbed the pest management stability between beneficial and pest anthropods for the subsequent production season, requiring additional insecticide applications…”

Authors: Beuzelin, J.M., et al.
Affiliations: Department of Entomology, Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center
Title: Impacts of Hurricane Rita storm surge on sugarcane borer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) management in Louisiana.”
Source: Journal of Economic Entomology. 2009. 102[3]:1054-1061.

The Dilemma of Insect Fragments in Processed Tomatoes

Tomato Fruitworm Damage

Tomato Fruitworm Damage

The tomato fruitworm is the most serious insect pest of tomatoes in the US, feeding on fruit and contaminating it with insect parts, excrement and decay-causing organisms. Interest in spraying insecticides to control the fruitworm was accelerated in the 1930s by the finding of insect fragments in canned products, which were seized and destroyed as adulterated foods by the FDA. Today, insecticides are used to prevent widespread insect damage to tomatoes and tomato shipments for processing are rejected if more than 2% damage is found. Therein is the dilemma. If the standard was relaxed (say to 4%), tomato growers could probably make one less insecticide spray. However, consumers may not want more insect fragments in canned tomatoes and may actually want a tighter standard which would result in more insecticide sprays.

“All loads of processing tomatoes in California are evaluated by inspectors from the Processing Tomato Advisory Board, a marketing order, under the direction of supervising inspectors from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. A load of processing tomatoes is rejected if 2% or more of the tomatoes by weight have a worm or excreta in the flesh of the tomato.

The damage tolerance acceptable to consumers and industry could be changed accordingly. Increasing the tolerance might be expected to result in a reduced number of insecticide applications when used in conjunction with a careful monitoring program.

A reduction in the tolerance might also be considered, arguing that consumers would not tolerate even the present level of insect fragments which, as our results indicate, is possible to have in the final product.”

Authors: Zalom, F. G., and A. Jones.
Affiliation: Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis
Title: insect fragments in processed tomatoes
Source: Journal of Economic Entomology. February, 1994. 87[1]:181-186.

Deadly Biological Parasite of Citrus Pest Can’t Take the Heat of the San Joaquin Valley

Citricola Scale Damage

Citricola Scale Damage

Certain scale insect species feed by sucking juices from citrus trees. Each mature citricola scale produces more than 1000 eggs which hatch into crawlers that settle on the trees. A severe infestation may reduce tree vigor, kill twigs and reduce flowering and fruit set. In southern California, citricola scale is not a problem because they are parasitized by a wasp that lays its eggs in the scale bodies. The wasp eggs hatch and the tiny wasps consume the insides of the scale. However, these deadly parasites are not effective in the San Joaquin Valley where 70% of California’s oranges are grown.

“Citricola scale is a voracious pest that in high numbers can dramatically reduce yield. A typical Valencia orange tree can produce 325 oranges per tree. If there are 10 citricola scale per twig, yields can drop by 70 fruit per tree, a yield loss of more than 20 percent.

The only effective control method in the valley is insecticide treatments. The parasitic wasp that is an effective biological control in Southern California citrus does not control the pest in the valley because of the high populations of scale produced under hotter valley conditions.

Oil will control citricola scale for organic growers, but it may take two applications per season. There is a list of registered foliar and systemic compounds on the UC IPM website.”

Author: Cline, H.
Affiliation: Western Farm Press
Title: Citricola scale valley’s No. 1 citrus pest
Source: Western Farm Press. Friday, 2012-09-28. Available at: http://www.westernfarmpress.com/orchard-crops/citricola-scale-valley-s-no-1-citrus-pest