Insects You Love to Hate, and How to Control Them

Minnesota’s Twin Cities are a delight in November, especially if you are attending the national entomological society meetings. Each year thousands of entomologists get together to talk about what new bugs are hitting the horticulture industry, and what we’re doing to fight back. Here are a few highlights of our discussions.

Two new products from Sygenta, Acelepyrn and Mainspring, will be on the market in 2016 with expanded labels for insect pests. Both products are true systemics and can be applied as foliar sprays or soil drenches. Soil drenches take longer for the uptake but last longer in the plant. These materials are very effective on certain insects and extremely safe around pollinators and beneficial organisms.

We have been working with Brian Kunkel of the University of Delaware to evaluate these materials against pests such as aphids, thrips, and Japanese beetles, and both have proven to be very effective. Keep in mind that these newer chemistries are extremely safe for applicators and non-target beneficials, but this comes at a cost—a financial cost. Get used to this because as we move to safer pesticides, prices will go up.  

Another pesticide expanding its label is Met-52, which contains a naturally-occurring fungus called Metarhizum aniospliae. Spores germinate on the surface of the targeted pest, and hyphae then invade and kill the susceptible insects. The spores are suspended in an emulsifiable oil as a formulation suitable for spraying or drenching into soil like a chemical insecticide. Met-52 EC is an effective contact bio-insecticide for use in an IPM program to control thrips and spider mites. It must be applied with a sprayer that emits a fine mist to be sure contact is made.  We have conducted several trials with Met-52 and have found that it is a very effective, safe pesticide to use in horticultural production systems.

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]