Will Abamectin Provide Any Plant Bug Control?

Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist
By Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist July 12, 2012 13:29

Will Abamectin Provide Any Plant Bug Control?

Over the last couple of weeks I have actually gotten quite a few questions about whether or not abamectin alone has any activity on plant bugs.  Plant bugs have been light this year to date and spider mites have been plentiful.  With the low prices of abamectin containing products we have increased our use rates to 6-8 oz and 10 oz in many situations depending on the spider mite pressure.  The reason folks are calling is because it appears that where they have used abamectin, particularly at the higher rates, that plant bug numbers have not been nearly as high.  I remembered back in 2006 I actually looked at rate titration’s of abamectin on efficacy of tarnished plant bugs in the MS Delta region so I went and dug that data up to see.  It has been a long time since I have thought about that but to my surprise it actually did offer suppresion at the lower rates and control at the higher rates.  This is probably why products like Athena from FMC appear to providing better plant bug control than the bifenthrin component alone would offer.  Now I am not suggesting that we start targeting plant bugs with abamectin alone but this data may shed some light on what many of you have observed over the last couple of weeks.

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Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist
By Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist July 12, 2012 13:29
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  1. Owen Taylor July 12, 17:00

    Gary Wolfe, a consultant in NW Louisiana, picked up on this idea a couple of years ago and did some research about how abamectin is positioned in other parts of the world. In some other countries abamectin is labeled for control or suppression of pests aside from mites. I’d heard that before, but Gary found some citations.

    Keep in mind that when Zephyr — the first abamectin product in the U.S. — was introduced into the California cotton market in the early 1990s it was called a “Miticide/Insecticide”. However, its original owner, Merck Crop Protection, never pushed the insecticidal feature. Later, Syngenta owned the product and also didn’t press the insecticidal idea. In the mid 1990s Syngenta introduced Denim, which was supposed to be a worm and mite material and was an analog of abamectin.

    Here’s a link to our Midsouth cotton report from a couple of weeks ago that contains comments from Gary about Athena and his ideas about abamectin being a component.

    http://agfax.com/midsouth/reports/12/0705ms.htm

    California crop advisors have always said they at least suspected some suppression of thrips and maybe aphids with abamectin. But until the chemistry got cheaper, I suspect that nobody ever applied it at high enough rates and/or enough of it in conjunction with other materials to see how diversified it might be.

    In the interest of disclosure, FMC – maker of Athena – sponsors our cotton reports in the Southeast, Midsouth and California.

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