Neonicotinoids are highly effective insecticides, but many questions remain about their use. James Bethke, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, will discuss neonicotinoids at the 25th annual Pest Management Conference next month. He recently shared a few thoughts on his topic as the conference approaches.
What is the significance of neonicotinoids to growers?
“Obviously, there is a push to reduce the amount of pesticide use in agriculture and horticulture. There is also a concern about neonicotinoid movement in the environment and its effect on pollinating bees, butterflies, drinking water contamination, etc. In addition, there is a concern about the development of resistance to the neonicotinoids. The results of our research will increase grower knowledge of the neonicotinoids, and how to use them more efficiently.”
Are we at a point where much more research needs to be conducted in order to develop best practices for neonicotinoids?
“We are finding that there are a great number of factors that affect the movement and efficacy of the neonicotinoids. In addition, not all of the neonicotinoids are alike. I think there is a great deal more to learn about this very effective new generation of insecticides, and it is important that we continue to learn as much as possible because there are so few new insecticides to look forward to. We better use this class very carefully.”
What are the biggest questions growers have about them?
“Why they cost so much? Should I apply them as a spray or drench? How long will they last, or how soon should I reapply them?”
What are you most looking forward to about Pest Management Conference yourself?
“This conference is a good mix of ornamental growers, related ornamental industry representatives and scientists. It is a good place to network and learn what my colleagues have been up to for the last year. In addition, I learn from every presentation and return with a greater understanding of the industry that I am associated with.”
Bethke is scheduled to present on neonicotinoids from 11:30-11:50 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 20. The conference takes place from Feb. 19-21.
For more information on Pest Management Conference, presented by Society of American Florists and Greenhouse Grower, visit www.pestconference.org.