Monday, May 16, 2011

Making Dollars and Cents out of Applying Miticides

 Want to keep a few thousand dollars in your pocket? Here’s my money saving tip of the week: Hold off spraying miticides in your cotton fields.

Every year, I see a number of growers trying to get “free ride” by adding miticides to their weed control applications. They figure “why not control weeds and spider mites at one time.” By my estimation, you spend $5,000 to $7,000 for a miticide to cover a 150-acre block of cotton. Save the money.
In the past three years, I haven’t seen any significant spider mite outbreaks. Biological controls – meaning natural predators such as six-spotted thrips and big-eyed bugs – can take care of any small threats by mites.

Newly planted habitat of corn, mustard and sunflowers.
Spraying to control weeds takes place during the development of the first node and sixth node on a cotton plant. The most common weeds are crab grass, nut sage and morning glory. To save on labor costs, growers will add a miticide to their weed control spray – thus getting that free ride or a “two-fer” you might say.

Spider mites feed on the leaf surface of a cotton plant, causing the leaves to fall and ultimately affecting yield. There are alternatives to control mites without spending thousands on a miticide application.

Around the borders of the fields, you can water the roads to keep dust down and lessen the disturbance of over wintering mites, which emerge from the soil. We’ve encouraged growers to plant a natural habitat to attract more beneficial insects. I’ve included a list detailing the plants and the corresponding beneficial insects they attract below.                                                                                                    
My message is simple: Why spray if you don’t need to. It makes a lot of dollars and cents.

Extra notes:

Final call to almond growers: Don’t forget our San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project’s field day Friday from 10 a.m. to noon at Del Bosque Farms on the west side of Firebaugh. The “Almond Doctor,” also known as UCCE Merced farm advisor David Doll, and UC IPM bug expert Walt Bentley will talk about “Almond Practices for Late Spring and Summer.”  Check our SCP website for directions and additional details. See you there.

Planting the Seeds for Biological Pest Management

Beneficial Insects
Aphid, spider mite and many other insects
Aphid midge, aphid parasites, braconid wasp, lacewing, tachinid fly, chalchid wasps, ladybird beetles, mealybug destroyer, spiders, spider mite destroyer, syrphid fly, whitefly, parasitic wasp (Encarsia Formosa)
Aphid, armyworm, cabbageworm, codling moth, gypsy moth, European corn, borer, beetle larvae, flies, aphid, caterpillars and other insects
Braconid wasp, aphid midge, aphid parasistes (Aphidius Matricariae and others).
Sweet clover
Aphid midge.
White clover
Aphid (see mustard)
Aphid parasites, braconid wasp and chalcid wasps
Aphid, thrips, leafhopper, treehopper, small caterpillars, fall armyworms, sawfly, Colorado potato beetle and Mexican bean beetle.
Spined soldier bug, mealybug destroyer, ladybug, chalcid wasps, damsel bug, braconid wasp and aphid parasites.
Soft-bodied insects, including aphid, thrips, mealybug, scale, caterpillars and mites.
Braconid wasp, damsel bug, lacewing (Chrysopa spp.), ladybug, mealybug destroyer, minute pirate bug, spined soldier bug and whitefly parasitic wasp (Encarsia Formosa).
Aphid, mealybug, spider mites and soft scales.
Ladybug, minute pirate bug (Orius spp), tachinid fly, chalcid wasps, lacewing (Chrysopa spp), and Braconid wasp.
Thrips, spider mites, leafhopper, corn earworm, small caterpillars and many other insects
Lacewing (Chrysopa spp), minute pirate bug (Orius spp.)
Cutworm, armyworm, tent caterpillar, cabbage looper, gypsy moth,’ some attack sawfly, Japanese beetle, May beetle, squash bug, green stink bug and sow bug.
Braconid wasp, chalcid wasps (many families, including Trichogrammatidae). Ladybird bettle or ladybug, mealybug destroyer, spider, spider mite destroyer, syrphid fly, whitefly and parasitic wasp (Encarsia Formosa).
Sweet alyssum
Spider mites
Spider mite destroyer, tachinid fly, syrphid fly or hover flies.
Many insects, including other bugs, flea beetles, spite mites, insect eggs and small caterpillars.
Big eye bug (Geocoris spp.), damsel bug and minute pirate bug.

Parasitic nematodes and buffer zone (insect trap zone).
Black eye beans
A number of insects.
Parasitic wasps.
Valvet beans
A number of insects.
Parasitic wasps.
Suddan grass

Buffer zone (Trap zone)
Aphids, thrips and small caterpillars.
Hover flies, parasitic wasps and tachinid fly.
Aphids, thrips and worm eggs.
Hover flies and parasitic wasps.

1 comment:

  1. But sometimes there are other things to consider as well. If you are in a place where later applications by air are problematic, getting something on early by ground is a good option. You can use lower rates by ground when the plants are smaller and have better chance of getting control through mid-season. Layby applications can be difficult as growers are trying to get directed weed sprays on and if you have mites show up then, good luck trying to get an extra spray on. In areas where the is corn and history of mid season mite issues, going in with the early weed spray does sometimes, make sense. IMHO