What's New in Pest Control in Cut Flowers?

Pest control using the newest, safest material is something cut flower growers want to stay on top of. Several new products are being introduced by chemical companies; my job is to provide you with a fair evaluation of their effectiveness.

Dow Chemical recently introduced an insecticide called XXpire™ WG which, has two new active ingredients for ornamental use, spinetoram and Isoclast™ (sulfoxaflor). The two active ingredients complement each other in their control of both chewing and sap-feeding insects. Spinosad (Conserve and spinosad organic) has been available for the cut flower industry for several years now but this new one is an interesting new mix.

Spinetoram is different from spinosad and has greater efficacy at lower rates, with increased photostability. It provides control of Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera species (caterpillars of moths and sawfly) and other chewing pests. Isoclast is systemic, and active on sap feeders such as aphids, whitefly, and lace bugs. XXpire is labeled only for foliar applications at this time.

The product was tested as “GF-2860” by a number of researchers for the past several years as well as through IR-4. Brian Kunkel of the University of Delaware Extension and I are testing out XXpire on root mealybug, root aphid, miscanthus mealybug, and thrips. XXpire was registered with the EPA this spring, but became available for sale in September. So far, this product is providing good control level in our trials.

In 2014 Syngenta introduced Acelepyrn for the nursery trade. It had originally been labeled for turfgrass grub control in 2014 but was expanded in 2015 to include ornamental plant pests. Acelepryn is an anthranilic diamide insecticide in the form of a suspension concentrate. It knocks calcium off the insects’ muscles, causing them to cramp and stop feeding. They die in two or three days from starvation. Acelepryn is a true systemic insecticide; as a foliar spray it travels into foliage and provides control for two to three weeks. 

This material is considered very pollinator friendly, with very low mammalian toxicity. It is also very expensive, but its safety and efficacy should be weighed when considering control of pests.

We are just finishing up trials in Maryland on controlling Japanese beetles with this product, and found that it has given 10-14 days of perfect control applied at the mid-range label rate of 8 oz. /100 gallons of water.

These two new products should be kept in mind as you develop your IPM insect control program for your cut flower operation in 2016

Stanton Gill

Extension Specialist

Stanton Gill is an extension specialist (professor-ranked principal agent) in IPM and entomology with the University of Maryland Extension, based at the Central Maryland Research and Education Center in Ellicott City. He is also a professor in the Landscape Technology Program at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College. Contact him at [email protected]