Monday, January 23, 2017

Tapping Online Resources: Learning about Pesticide Resistance in Agriculture

Need information about pesticide use? Looking for tips about water conservation?

There is a good chance you’ll find the answers via your smart phone, tablet or personal computer. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to highlight some useful online resources covering timely farm topics.

This week, we cover pesticide resistance management.  First, let’s give you a little background.

Following the introduction of synthetic organic insecticides in the 1940s, such as DDT, it was not long before the first cases of resistance were detected and by 1947, resistance to DDT was confirmed in houseflies.

DDT was an early case of pesticide resistance.
Thereafter, with every new insecticide introduction, cyclodienes, organophosphates, carbamates, formamidines, pyrethroids, Bacillus thuringiensis, spinosynsandneonicotinoids, cases of resistance appeared some 2 to 20 years after their introduction in a number of key pest species.

Spraying in an almond orchard.
This phenomenon has been described as the “pesticide treadmill” and the sequence is familiar. As a result of continued applications over time the pest evolves resistance to the insecticide and the resistant strain becomes increasingly difficult to control at the labeled rate and frequency. This in turn has often led to more frequent applications of the insecticide.

The intensity of the resistance and the frequency of insecticide-resistant individuals in the population increase problems of control which continue to worsen as yet more product is applied. Eventually users switch to another pesticide if one is available. The genetics of theheritable resistance traits and the intensive repeated application of pesticides together are responsible for the rapid build-up of resistance in most insects and mites.

 Pesticide resistance management is an effort to slow or prevent the development of resistance. It relies on pest management and pesticide-use strategies to prolong the effective life of pesticides.

Pesticide Resistance (from IRAC website – Insecticide Action Resistance Committee)

Spraying taking place in a cotton field.
The Insecticide Action Resistance Committee (IRAC) offers a video that is a grower-focused, animated and diagrammatic explanation of insecticide resistance and its management from CropLife International and the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee. The video is available in English, Chinese, Mandarin, Spanish or Portuguese.

The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program offers an online course featuring the latest advances in pest management and related topics. Some courses are approved by the state Department of Pesticide Regulation for continuing education credits. Some also are approved for credit from the Structural Pest Control Board.

Here are links the UC online training, the publicationsand events and workshops sites.

The online learning courses are geared toward pest control advisers and other licensed pesticide applicators to teach about fungicide resistance, insecticide resistance, and herbicide resistance.  It provides information on the mechanisms of pesticide resistance and how it has developed as well as information on managing or delaying resistance.

The Sustainable Cotton Project website provides online links  to various grower resources.

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