Almond Matters: Getting After Pests with Insect Growth Regulators

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In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, growers can have significant success in addressing pest problems with insect growth regulators (IGRs). While most IGRs will not kill pest populations immediately, they can knock out entire populations once the insects cycle through their growth stages. Field Market Development Specialist with Valent USA, Todd Burkdoll said IGRs can help growers with multiple pests at this point in the season.

Insect Growth Regulators

“In the case of Esteem ant bait, it’s not accurately toxic to the ants but it is very much toxic to the nymphs, the eggs, and the queen,” Burkdoll explained.  “It sterilizes the queen, and so everything that she lays is sterile from that point on. So, it’s kind of annihilation of the whole colony.”

The ants will essentially be stuck in a juvenile stage before eventually dying off. While certain contact materials might kill ants directly, they can leave an opportunity for populations to build back up if the queen is not eradicated. “Typically, you wouldn’t get a complete kill. With the IGRs, you get basically a complete kill with Esteem ant bait on ants. So, it’s a good way to go after them,” Burkdoll noted.

With temperatures warming up, IGRs can also be helpful in addressing mite populations. Burkdoll said that Zeal miticide can be very effective in taking down infestations. While the material can take time to show its efficacy, nymphs that have been affected by it will be prevented from moving onto the next developmental stage.

“Insect growth regulators are basically insecticides that stop the biology within the pest,” said Burkdoll. “[Zeal] doesn’t kill the adults but the eggs that are laid are killed. They’re sterilized and they won’t hatch. Then the nymphs don’t go from one stage to the other. So, it’s a different chemistry than the active ingredient in the Esteem ant bait, but it works very effectively on mites. It’s similar, but not the same mode of action.”

Listen to the report below.