Science Can Help You, Not Pests, Survive. (High Science)

Landscape & Irrigation, March 2002 | Go to article overview

Science Can Help You, Not Pests, Survive. (High Science)


Survival of the fittest is alive and well in turf and ornamental pest management: target pests -- insects, weeds, and diseases -- are always going to try to adapt. Therefore, it's up to you to be smart, understand the importance of resistance management and let science help you win the war on pests.

While the degree of resistance can vary from pest to pest, and location to location, overuse of effective pesticides often leads to a resistance problem. That's why pesticide manufacturers - Dow AgroSciences and others -- have responded by researching and developing products with modes of action and bringing them to market.

When similar pesticides are in repeated use for many years, pests grow to resist them, says Jack Handly, a field development biologist for Dow AgroSciences. "Resistance develops, for example, by continually exposing generation after generation of insect to the same insecticide or same class of insecticide." Continued exposure to products with the same mode of action will breed resistances, he explains. "Once this occurs, higher applications rates and reduced time between applications is usually attempted to control the insects, and with little success."

"You'll find that an insecticide or fungicide you've worked with continually in the past is now not as effective as when you first started use. Smart contractors and other turf professionals will realize this and use a number of pesticides, including reduced-risk chemistries, in a rotation program," Handly continues, adding that an effective pest management system can prolong a pesticide's life.

One way to delay insect resistance is to rotate different pesticides with different modes of action, such as Dursban insecticide, which is still labeled for golf course use, and cyfluthrin (Tempo 2).

When applying an insecticide, Handly advises using rates that provide a high level of control rather than using a concentration that is too low and can select for. This practice will select more quickly for a resistant population.

Weeds and disease, too

Fungicide resistance happens, too. It happens quickly and must also be managed. …

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