Your Insect Management Program
Insect pests can reduce yield, quality and profit. This year,
three-cornered alfafa hoppers were particularly bad in many Southeast
fields. Study of this pest and others results in changes to the
recommendations, even when new insecticide products have not been
introduced. Study the charts carefully to be sure you are using
the best product for your pest problem.
It is not always easy to know when to treat fields with an insecticide.
Typically fields should be treated when insects reach or exceed
established thresholds. These thresholds vary by state, and each
grower must decide how many insects can be tolerated before treating.
For plants that are stressed, a lower treatment threshold should
be used. Also important to remember is that insects can vector
certain diseases, such as Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus.
For an Effective Insect Management Program:
• Scout for possible problems. Insects such as the velvetbean
caterpillar can be easily controlled, but will reduce yields if
not controlled in a timely fashion.
• Know the weather conditions that favor outbreaks. Hot,
dry conditions are preferred by lesser cornstalk borers; wet periods
favor southern corn rootworm.
• Make foliar insecticide decisions on a field-by-field
basis. Use insecticides only when necessary. High-risk situations
may justify preventative applications to control thrips or soil
Weigh Insecticide Decisions Carefully
The benefits of an insecticide application must be weighed carefully
against potential damage to beneficial insects, secondary pest
outbreaks and development of resistance. The state of growth,
variety and duration of feeding damage should be factored into