Measuring Up Kontos

Measuring Up Kontos

Managing common insect pests successfully usually involves an integration of control tactics aimed at minimizing pest immigration and reproduction in the target crop. Successful pest management also involves maximizing the impact of mortality factors that regulate pest density.

When conditions are favorable for insect colonization and development and mortality by weather and natural enemies is low, applications of insecticides may be necessary to minimize crop damage. Whiteflies, mealybugs and leafminers are among the most challenging pests to control. Problems with these pests often start when propagules–usually the less conspicuous and most easily transported life stage of the species–are introduced into the crop.

Whitefly, mealybug and leafminer eggs and early instars are very difficult to detect by routine inspection due to their small size and secluded behavior. Once established, populations of these insects can quickly reach unacceptable levels triggering insecticide applications.

Fortunately, several new insecticides such as spirotetramat (Kontos) are now on the market that more effectively target these pest species and more easily integrate into modern pest management programs.

Why Such Damaging Pests?

Whiteflies, mealybugs and scale insects feed by piercing the leaf or stem and sucking the plant’s sap or cellular contents. As a byproduct of their feeding, many of these insects cover themselves with a waxy substance that protects them from desiccation and from many contact insecticides. Similarly, leafminer larvae are protected from most contact sprays as they feed inside the leaf tissue and complete development in the soil, away from sprayed plant surfaces.

Controlling established populations of these pests often requires the timely use of systemic insecticides. Systemic insecticides are incorporated by the plant after application and move from treated surfaces to untreated ones, thus providing better coverage than contact sprays. Whether or not an insecticide moves within the plant and the speed at which it moves is based on both the chemical and physical properties of the molecule and the size (and transporting mechanism) of the plant. Most of the new systemic insecticide molecules can move acropetally (toward the tips of the plant) via the xylem. But, often because they are highly water soluble, the molecules do not effectively move basipetally (toward the base of the plant) in the phloem.

Spirotetramat is a true systemic insecticide. Once in the plant, it converts to spirotetramat-enol, a molecule with a good combination of characteristics for phloem mobility. Even though the compound is not very water soluble, it is a weak acid with intermediate lipophilicity (membrane permeability), which allows it to slowly diffuse through, accumulate into and get moved by the phloem cells.

The information that follows is a summary of tests conducted in the last three years to assess efficacy of Kontos against whiteflies, serpentine leafminers and solanum mealybugs attacking flowering plants commonly grown in greenhouses.

Mealybug Control Using Kontos

Using mealybug-infested ‘Miramar’ chrysanthemums, we tested efficacy of two formulations of spirotetramat (240 SC and 150 OD) at two doses each (high and low) corresponding to 1.7 and 3.4 fluid ounces per 100 gallons for 240 SC, and 2.7 and 5.4 fluid ounces per 100 gallons for 150 OD, to that of Marathon II (imidacloprid) at 1.7 fluid ounces per 100 gallons and Marathon Ultra at 25 fluid ounces per 100 gallons–all as foliar sprays applied 14 days apart.

We also tested drench treatments (one application) of the 240 SC low rate and Marathon II at 1.7 fluid ounces per 100 gallons. Control plants received no applications. All spirotetramat formulations performed well against both nymphs and adults, relative to imidacloprid formulations, but control was better at two weeks after treatment (Figure 1, scroll down). This is expected based on the chemical properties of the spirotetramat molecule. Results were similar after the second foliar application but surprisingly, the drench treatment continued to work well 28 days after application (Figure 2, scroll down).

Whitefly Control Using Kontos

Using whitefly-infested ‘Freedom Red’ poinsettias, we tested efficacy of spirotetramat (BYI08330) drench applications at 0.85, 1.7, 2.5 and 3.4 fluid ounces per 1,000 pots (6 inch) to that of Safari (dinotefuran) at 24 ounces per 100 gallons. We also compared foliar applications (two applications 14 days apart) of spirotetramat (BYI08330) at 1.7 and 3.4 fluid ounces per 100 gallons to that of TriStar (acetamiprid) at 2.3 ounces per 100 gallons. Control plants received no applications.

Both drench and foliar applications of spirotetramat performed well relative to Safari and Tristar but residual activity was longer when spirotetramat was applied as a drench (Figure 3, scroll down). Drench applications continued to show activity on whitefly nymphs even five weeks after treatment.

Leafminer Control Using Kontos

We tested efficacy of Kontos against leafminers on potted ‘Miramar’ chrysanthemums under two conditions. On the first test, we infested plants one day after insecticide application. On the second test, we infested plants three days before insecticide applications to determine protection and residual activity.

We tested efficacy of Kontos drench applications at 0.05, 0.075 and 0.1 milliliter per liter of soil-media to that of Flagship (thiamethoxam) at 113 grams per 100 gallons. We also compared foliar applications of Kontos at 1.7, 2.5 and 3.4 fluid ounces per 100 gallons to that of Avid (abamectin) at 4 ounces per 100 gallons. Control plants received no applications.

As expected, leafminer control was faster when the insecticides were applied the day before infestation. Drench treatments also performed better than foliar applications and provided longer residual activity.

Takeaways

The efficacy of Kontos compared well with that of several products against a variety of insect pests, including mealybugs, whiteflies and leafminers. Based on its efficacy and novel mode of action, Kontos is a great tool for insecticide resistance mitigation and management of these important pests.

Insect control by Kontos is slow but long lasting. It is best used against small populations before damage occurs and may not be a good option for rescue treatments when pest populations are already high. Based on the research, Kontos is best used as part of an integrated pest management program that includes monitoring to detect small to moderate population densities.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Measuring Up Kontos

More From Insect Control...
PP&L CAST 2015 intros

April 22, 2015

6 Breeding Companies Serve Up New Varieties At Pacific Plug & Liner

Pacific Plug & Liner’s theme this year, Labyrinth, a conservatory of the world’s most captivating plants, was perfectly topped off (pun intended) with fascinators for the women and newsboy caps for the men. The PP&L team dressed their part to act out the gothic “conservatory of the world’s most captivating plants.” Truly, the displays looked like they practically popped out of a catalog, and the costumes were a nice touch. Retailers take heed, the fully merchandised displays at Pacific Plug & Liner are worthy of emulating. We’ll let the pictures tell the story of all the fabulous variety introductions presented at  Pacific Plug & Liner’s 2015 California Spring Trials, where Cultivaris, Cohen Nurseries, Histil Nurseries, Jaldety Nurseries, Southern Living/Sunset Collection and Pacific Plug & Liner all highlighted their 2016 introductions.  

Read More
Speedling 2015 CAST intros

April 22, 2015

Speedling Inc. Presents New Varieties From ABZ Seeds, Hem Genetics, Thompson & Morgan, Vista Farms & PSI

You name it, we saw it at Speedling's California Spring Trials location in San Juan Bautista, where five companies showed off their new introductions for 2016.

Read More
PittMoss on Shark Tank

April 22, 2015

PittMoss Wins On Shark Tank

Mont Handley, president and CEO of PittMoss, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank on April 17 to try to get the “sharks” to invest in his peat moss alternative. Three investors from the TV show contributed $600,000 to PittMoss for a 35 percent stake in the company. Check out this clip from ABC’s website in which Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec discuss getting on board with the product. PittMoss is an alternative to sphagnum peat moss, made up of a mix of proprietary additives and recycled paper rescued from landfill space. Handley founded the Pittsburgh-based company in 1994. What started as a small experiment grew into a full-fledged business with the help of funding provided by an EPA SBIR grant and Pittsburgh’s Idea Foundry. Today, PittMoss is available to commercial greenhouses and nurseries from Michigan to Maine to North Carolina, with plans to grow. To learn more, visit PittMoss’ website, or check it […]

Read More
Latest Stories

April 20, 2015

Three Michigan State University On-Demand Webinars Offe…

The first rule of effective insect and disease control for vegetables is to take action to prevent problems before they occur. But in order to do that, you need to have an effective pest and disease management strategy in place that incorporates best practices to ensure a successful outcome. Michigan State University offers three pest and disease management on-demand webinars that will get you started and keep you on the right track.

Read More

April 11, 2015

Lowe’s Announces Commitment To Phase Out Neonicotinoids…

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s companies announced April 9 that it has committed to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from its stores in a gradual phase-out over the next 48 months. In response, horticulture industry associations issued a statement that Lowe’s position is surprising, considering the most recent and positive reports on the state of honeybee health and recent peer reviewed research, and that this is an issue for which sound science must take priority.

Read More
Restricting foliar pesticide applications on blooming plants to early morning or as dusk approaches in the evening reduces direct exposure to bees.

April 10, 2015

10 Steps For Protecting Crops And Bees

Bees stay safe and high quality crops thrive when you use bee-friendly practices designed to help both succeed. Griffin Greenhouse Supply Pro (GGSPro) has been actively discussing bee-friendly pesticide use for years. Based on its current understanding of the science and social factors at play, GGSPro currently recommends these 10 bee-friendly practices.

Read More
As directed by EPA, the bee hazard icon appears in the Directions For Use for each application site for specific use restrictions and instructions to protect bee and other pollinators.

April 8, 2015

AFE To Fund Honey Bee Health Research Focused On Transl…

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) is funding a new research project to examine the health of honey bees on ornamental plants following treatment with neonicotinoids and other systemic insecticides.

Read More

February 17, 2015

A New Look At Biological Control: Can Plants Affect The…

The success of a biological control program depends on a number of factors including quality of natural enemies, timing of release, release rates and environmental conditions. However, what is typically not taken into consideration is how plants can affect the performance of natural enemies, including attack rate and searching ability. Biological control agents work hard to protect plants, but plants have ways to help themselves, too.

Read More

February 1, 2015

New Pest Control Products For Your Toolbox

Add one of these new insecticides to your IPM program for successful pest control.

Read More
IR-4_profile_Feb2015

January 29, 2015

IR-4: A Pest Management Resource For Growers

Almost 40 years ago, IR-4 (Interregional Research Project Number 4) began serving the ornamental horticulture industry, helping to facilitate the registration of pest management tools. IR-4 does this primarily by surveying growers about their pest management issues and then hosting workshops to review survey results and set priorities for the coming years. Most recently, IR-4 coordinated a meeting of researchers and industry members on pollinator health and neonicotinoid chemistries to start a discussion on the needed research. The next step will be to get the outcomes from that workshop out to the public.

Read More

January 28, 2015

Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow: Peace Tree…

Lloyd Traven, a speaker at the upcoming Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow, was one of the industry’s early adopters of biocontrols in the greenhouse. Traven, owner of Peace Tree Farm, is evangelical about the technology as an effective tool for resistance management, as well as improved plant quality that contributes to a grower’s bottom line.

Read More
Wainwright-web-620x349

January 22, 2015

Quality Control With Biocontrols

Make sure the shipment of beneficials that just arrived is viable and ready to go to work in your greenhouse, nursery, or field. Here are five steps you can take to ensure success with your biocontrols.

Read More
As directed by EPA, the bee hazard icon appears in the Directions For Use for each application site for specific use restrictions and instructions to protect bee and other pollinators.

December 9, 2014

Fact Sheet: The Value Of Neonicotinoids To Turf And Orn…

An extensive study of the diverse turf and ornamental industry (“The Green Industry”) reveals that neonicotinoids are the top-rated products used by professionals to control their most important pests in greenhouses, landscapes, lawns, nurseries and trees.

Read More
As directed by EPA, the bee hazard icon appears in the Directions For Use for each application site for specific use restrictions and instructions to protect bee and other pollinators.

December 9, 2014

New Study Finds Neonicotinoids Are Top-Rated Products F…

According to results of a survey by AgInfomatics, professionals in the turf and ornamental industries fear the loss of neonicotinoid products would reduce the quality of their plants and services, increase costs and negatively impact their ability to manage pest resistance.

Read More

November 21, 2014

Ramped-Up Predatory Mite Production To Benefit Growers

Biological pest control company Beneficial Insectary is now producing both Amblyseius (=Neoseiulus) cucumeris and Stratiolaelaps scimitus (formerly Hypoaspis miles) at its facility in California. Domestic production in the U.S. is now benefiting growers in North America by reducing the transit time of perishable predatory mites between producer and grower.

Read More

November 14, 2014

Skagit Gardens To Eliminate Use Of Neonicotinoid Pestic…

Skagit Gardens, a wholesale grower located outside Mount Vernon, Wash., will eliminate all use of neonicotinoid pesticides beginning in January 2015.

Read More

November 11, 2014

Clarification: White House Recommends Sourcing Insectic…

UPDATE: The Obama Administration's addendum to the Sustainable Practices for Designed Landscapes applies only to federal agencies “implementing landscaping practices on agency-owned or leased land or space.”

Read More

October 27, 2014

New Insecticides Offer Alternatives For Growers

Chemistry advances in insecticides broaden growers’ pest management options, without compromising control.

Read More

October 14, 2014

Pollinator Legislation Could Help Solve One Piece Of Th…

AmericanHort encourages industry members to contact their members of Congress to support legislation that would require federal agencies to take greater action to deal with parasite and disease factors impacting the health of managed bees, specifically focusing on Varroa mites.

Read More

October 7, 2014

New Jersey Green Industry Council Will Host Pollinator …

The New Jersey Green Industry Council's 2014 Pollinator Summit is an event and issue briefing for everyone who works in the green industry, agriculture, or related industries. The event will take place Nov. 11 at the National Conference Center, East Windsor, N.J.

Read More

September 22, 2014

Seattle City Council To Vote On Citywide Ban Of Neonico…

On September 17, a committee of the Seattle City Council endorsed a ban on the purchase and use of neonicotinoid products on city property. The measure includes supportive language for sales and use bans for all use patterns, including plants, seeds or products containing neonicotinoids in the city, and support for a national moratorium on products.

Read More