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Stop what's bugging your berry crops - before handStop what's bugging your berry crops - before hand

Heading into the bug-berry-biting season, here's the latest on what's available to keep insects and mites from eating into your profits.

May 4, 2016

5 Min Read

Strawberry blossoming is one of the first signs of the coming berry-picking season in the Northeast. Here’s a quick roundup of insecticides and miticides available for berry crops from Kathy Demchak, Extension entomologist at Penn State University.


Altacor: It’s labeled for control of crown borer on cane berries, and should be applied as a delayed dormant spray for this purpose. Like Rimon, it has been available for use a few years. But there are few products available for crown borer management. It causes insects to stop feeding and is effective on newly-hatched larvae, which is why it’s targeted for spring use – before larvae bore into the canes. Sprays directed to the base of the canes should be watered in. It has a 1-day pre-harvest interval and a 4-hour restricted entry interval.

BeLeaf: It’s labeled for aphids and suppression of tarnished plant bugs on strawberries. It has a 0-day PHI and 12-hour REI. Use it while populations are still low. It causes the insects to stop feeding quickly. But there could be a lag between application and actual insect numbers decrease.

Exirel: This can be used on bush berries (blueberries, elderberries, gooseberries, currants, etc.) for control of spotted wing drosophila, cherry and cranberry fruitworm, blueberry aphid, blueberry maggot, plum curculio, and for blueberry gall midge suppression. It has a 3-day PHI and a 12-hour REI. It has been very effective against spotted wing drosophila in trials.

Belt: It can be used while EPA’s “Intent to cancel registration” filing for this product is under review. That’s due to concerns about breakdown product toxicity to aquatic organisms. Uses that had been on other products (Synapse, Vetica) containing the flubendiamide active ingredient now appear on Belt’s label. Bayer and Nichino filed an objection and a request for a hearing. Until a final decision is made – expected in July – growers can continue to buy and use the product.

Hero: This restricted-use product can also be used to control crown borers on cane berries. Like Altacor, it’s to be directed to the cane’s base – as a drench application during fall or spring. It has a 3-day PHI on cane berries. It also can be used on blueberries for an assortment of insects and mites with a 1-day PHI and 12-hour REI.

Nealta: This is a new miticide for use against two-spotted spider mites in strawberries. It’s in a different chemical class than other miticides labeled for strawberries, and is easy on beneficials. Resistance development is still a concern, so growers are limited to two applications per growing season. PHI: 1 day; REI: 12 hours.

Rimon: It can be used to control sap beetle eggs and larvae on strawberries, plus nymphs of tarnished plant bugs. On strawberries, it has a 1-day PHI. It’s also labeled for use on bush berries with an 8-day PHI and can be used for control of cranberry fruitworm, oblique-banded leafroller and blueberry maggot. It has a 12-hour REI. Since it disrupts insect growth, it’s only effective on eggs, nymphs, or larval stages.

Sivanto Prime: It’s labeled for use on bush berries for control of aphids, blueberry maggot, and blueberry thrips with a 3-day PHI, and fruiting vegetables, including gogi berry (tomato family) with a 1-day PHI. It also may be used on crops in the low-growing berry group (which includes lowbush blueberries and strawberries) for aphids, whiteflies, blueberry thrips and blueberry maggot with a 0-day PHI and 4-hour REI, though it is longer for certain operations with grapes.

Softer materials
Azera: This insecticide can be used in organic production. It’s labeled for a wide range of crops and pests. 0-day PHI; 12-hour REI.

Captiva: This, too, is labeled for use on a wide range of crops including all berries to repel and suppress soft-bodied insects and mites. 0-day PHI; 4-hour REI.

Grandevo: It’s is a biological insecticide with a 2(ee) label for use against spotted wing drosophila on cane berries and bush berries. It can also be used on strawberries to manage tarnished plant bug, aphids, thrips and whiteflies. On bush berries and cane berries, it’s also labeled for use against fruitworms, aphids and thrips. It should be used when pest populations are still low and/or in younger growth stages. 0-day PHI; 4-hour REI.

Venerate: This bioinsecticide should be applied early when pest populations are low and the pests are newly-hatched. On cane berries, bush berries and strawberries, it’s intended for control of various fruitworms and for suppression of aphids, thrips and stink bugs. On strawberries, it suppresses tarnished plant bugs. 0-day PHI; 4-hour REI.

Being discontinued
Closer: Last fall, U.S. EPA issued a cancellation order for the product used on strawberries, after the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA improperly approved the registration. Growers can use existing stocks, but won’ be able to obtain new product at this time.

Endosulfan (Thionex, Thiodan): It can be bought for use on perennial (matted row) strawberries, and only until May 31, 2016. It can only be used on perennial strawberries until July 31, 2016. Its main purpose is to control cyclamen mites with applications made in early spring and/or at renovation. Use on other small fruit crops, including annual strawberries, has already been discontinued since the active ingredient accumulates in the food chain.

Keep in mind that products must be registered for use in the state in which they’re applied. To protect pollinators, insecticides should never be applied during bloom. Follow label precautions to protect pollinators. For more details on them, click on Berry crop insecticides and miticides.

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