As part of UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County’s efforts to increase our impact to the community, the Commercial Horticulture agent’s services include pesticide licensing and certification, landscape pest diagnostics, workshops, and seminars. Programming also includes consulting with landscape professionals; Parks and Recreation and municipalities grounds professionals; commercial sports turf managers and small farms.
Our purpose is to create or enhance annual fertility, irrigation, and/or pesticide programs to better protect natural resources, improve production, and increase company profitability.
Do You Know Your Fertilizer Ordinance?
New!! Use this chart to find your city's fertilizer ordinance
- Pitch Canker Disease on Pines Can Be Serious
- Learn about Nematodes to Identify Potential Turf Problems
- Learn Insecticide Modes of Action to Avoid Chemical Resistance
- Part 1: A Series on Plant Pathogens – Fungicide Resistance
- Part 2: A Series on Plant Pathogens – Different Palm Diseases with Similar Symptoms
- Considerations for Fungal Disease Management
- Steps to Take When Fertilizing Your Turf
Learn Insecticide Modes of Action to Avoid Chemical Resistance
In the green industry, landscape and turf professionals use integrated pest management procedures to control insects that damage desirable plants and turf. Practices to reduce stress of desirable material such as proper watering, pruning, fertilizing, and using recommended mowing heights are some of the most important steps to follow. However, if an insect outbreak occurs, one of the components of IPM is chemical control. Using insecticides responsibly includes applying at label rates and rotating chemicals to reduce the chances of the insect becoming resistant to the chemical. If insecticides are improperly used and a resistance occurs, insecticides won’t work as effectively to control outbreaks, rendering the chemical useless or causing the applicator to use more chemicals than normally needed to reach the same control. Resistance also occurs in herbicides and fungicides.
For commercial or residential applicators it is important to learn not just the brand name of the product, but also the active ingredient, as well as the class or family of that chemical. This is needed to ensure that different chemical modes of action (MOA) to control the insect are used. Even if the active ingredient is different, the mode of action may be the same. If this happens, then even though the applicator may think they are rotating chemicals, they really aren’t and resistance if more likely to occur due to over exposure of only one mode of action.
One of the easiest ways to find information on this subject is from IRAC, the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee. Here you will find most insecticides, their chemical names, modes of action and target sites, as well as general information on pests. The IRAC site will also comment on the level of risk for resistance, which varies. There is often a chemical class code that is on the labels of insecticides and other chemicals. These codes coincide to different mode of action target sites, and should be used in a rotation based on label recommendations. The label will also recommend how often a certain chemical can be used before rotating to another chemical.
Understanding Insect Growth Stages Helps With Pest Management
All insects go through metamorphosis to reach maturity. Depending on the type of insect, it will go through what is called a ‘simple’ or a ‘complete’ metamorphosis. The three stages of simple metamorphosis are the egg, nymph, and adult.
During simple metamorphosis, the nymph stage looks similar to the adult, only smaller, typically without wings and with some color variations. Most insects with piercing or sucking mouthparts such as scales, aphids, or chinch bugs go through simple metamorphosis. Grasshoppers, having chewing mouthparts, are the exception and also go through simple metamorphosis.
The four stages of complete metamorphosis are the egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. Most insects with chewing mouthparts go through complete metamorphosis. In this form of metamorphosis, the insect looks completely different during each stage of life. For example, the larvae of moths are caterpillars and the larvae of beetles are grubs.
Lady beetles larvae also look completely different from their adult form. Regardless of whether an insect has ‘simple’ or ‘complete’ metamorphosis, the larval and nymph stage of each lifecycle is when most of the destruction occurs. This stage can be thought of as the ‘teenage’ stage of an insect, when all it does is eat and grow. This is then followed by their transformation to the less-destructive adult stage when the emphasis shifts to reproduction, rather than merely growth.
By Matt Lenhardt, Commercial Horticulture Agent
Garden or Yard Problems?
For landscape and garden questions, contact a Master Gardener at 321.633.1702 x227 or send us an email!