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Control disease by controlling thrips

Southeast retailer-consultant Wade Johnson sees a correlation between effective pest control and decreased disease development.


Insecticide treatments targeting troublesome thrips offer dual protection – reducing pest damage and the potential for disease development.

“We need to keep thrips out of the crop to keep the risk of disease development low. Thrips vector tomato spotted wilt virus that the pests acquired when in the larval stage. Without thrips, that potential for disease decreases,” says Wade Johnson, a consultant with Nutrien Ag Solutions.

Adult thrips transmit tomato spotted wilt virus, which infects multiple crops. Disease symptoms include ring spots on infected fruit.

While his tomato grower-customers focus on controlling western flower thrips with Radiant® SC insecticide, Johnson says the crop protection product also “does a good job controlling aphids and cucumber beetles.”

Additionally, he says, “Radiant doesn’t cause the flaring of spider mites.”

Tomato producers customarily begin treating for thrips and other pests about four to five days before the first bloom opens.

Johnson recommends his tomato producers start their season-long pest control program with a treatment of Radiant followed by an insecticide with a different mode of action and then rotate back to Radiant.

“My growers put Radiant out first. I recommend putting Radiant out first to get your thrips numbers down to manageable levels,” he says. “While growers will double-apply Radiant if pest populations are especially heavy, I recommend continuing that product rotation throughout the season.”

Rotating insecticide modes of action throughout the season ensures continued pest control and minimizes the potential for resistance development.

“If you spray another cheaper product four times throughout the season and it does not work, you’re losing money. If you spray Radiant once, the resulting control will make you money at harvest,” Johnson says. “It’s a money saver because Radiant is doing the same job as multiple products. You could use three to four products to do the same job, but why would you want to? Radiant is a proven product.”

“The benefits Radiant offers include a short pre-harvest interval,” Johnson says. “And the fact that it works. If it’s working, it’s making growers money.”

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CA14-358-021 (05/19) BR DAAG8RADI059

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