Question: What has changed over the last 15 years in regard to late-season insect control and how does it impact my management strategies today?

{Sponsored} Broad-spectrum insecticides have largely gone by the wayside. Growers no longer rely upon season-long control of the former broad-spectrum foliar insecticides. This is primarily because of new research and a better set of tools available to growers.

Current tools for controlling insects are pest-specific rather than the broad-spectrum chemistries growers used in the past.

What does this mean for growers?

Late-season pests are always challenging. When growers use neonicotinoids, they generally see a fall-off in efficacy towards the end of the season. Scouting fields is about more than counting insects. It’s also about making determinations on crop health. Growers are evaluating preharvest intervals and considering the risk of disease transmission. They are asking questions like; how long do I need to keep the crop alive? When will I harvest? Do the pests present transmit disease or present a risk going into storage? Will this application impact further applications and how?

Potato Virus Y

Aphids that vector potato virus Y are a particular challenge. Beleaf® 50 SG insecticide, from FMC, is an excellent tool to use for aphid control, offering prevention of PVY transmission as well as viruses transmitted by psyllids and lygus. It controls only piercing and sucking insects and has minimal impact on beneficial populations. The 7-day PHI for Beleaf 50 SG insecticide accommodates a flexible dig schedule.

Zebra Chip Disease

Potato psyllids, which vector zebra chip, are a tough pest to control. Athena® insecticide/miticide, Gladiator® insecticide/miticide, Exirel® insect control powered by Cyazypyr® active and Beleaf 50 SG insecticide all control this pest to help maintain crop health. FMC recommends Beleaf 50 SG insecticide as the baseline defense for psyllid control and disease prevention. If beetles or worms are also present and growers are looking for extended residual protection, Exirel insect control is the best choice. When mites are also a concern, we recommend Athena insecticide/ miticide, with a 21-day PHI, or Gladiator insecticide/miticide, with a 14-day PHI, which provide excellent control of spider mites while providing protection from psyllids, beetles and loopers.

Loopers and Worms

When it comes to loopers and armyworms, Coragen® insect control powered by Rynaxypyr® active is the industry mainstay. It is also the only choice growers have for controlling tuber moths once they’ve entered the leaf miner stage. Exirel insect control is an excellent choice when cross-spectrum control is needed, protecting from psyllid, aphids, worms and flea beetles with extended residual protection to potentially improve a plant’s resilience to stress. Nondisruptive and used in rotation with existing MOAs helps it reduce resistance selection to other pest management products, preserving long term viability of available tools.

CPB Escapes

The Colorado potato beetle is known for its ability to rapidly develop resistance to the most frequently used insecticide modes of action. To prevent this from happening and to control escapes, growers can deploy Exirel insect control at its labeled rates. Using a lower rate and spiking it with a pyrethroid or another class of chemistry to which CPB are resistant is simply a mistake and does not bring value to controlling the pest. If growers truly have escapes, they need to make sure they are rotating modes of action as defined by the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC).

The Global Insecticide Resistance Monitoring Program is a task force, of which FMC is a participant, with the objective to ensure resistance management is in the wheelhouse of every potato grower. FMC has invested in a full portfolio of pest solutions. Our experts are readily available to help customize the solution that will work best for your unique solution.

See more Spud Science at spudman.com/fmcspudscience.


Athena insecticide/miticide and Gladiator insecticide/miticide are Restricted Use Pesticides. Always read and follow all label directions, restrictions and precautions for use. Some products may not be registered for use in all states of the United States. As of November 1, 2017, the USEPA registration for DuPont™ Coragen® insect control powered by Rynaxypyr® active and Exirel® insect control powered by Cyazypyr® active was sold to FMC by DuPont. FMC, Exirel, Athena, Gladiator, Coragen, Rynaxypyr and Cyazypyr are trademarks of FMC Corporation or an affiliate. Beleaf is a trademark of Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha Ltd.


© 2018 FMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 18-FMC-0495 05/18

Kirk Sager is technical services manager for FMC Corporation in the potato growing region of the PNW. He is a soil scientist by training with a Masters of Soil Sciences from Washington State University. A self-described potato nerd, Sager spent 15 years as a crop consultant in the Columbia Basin of Washington State. Great growers, great weather and great soils allowed him to learn the critical aspects of growing potatoes. His focus with FMC over the past seven years has been helping growers in the PNW optimize their return on investment.


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