Bee-friendly insecticide targets sucking pests, and psyllid

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Bayer CropScience hopes to launch its new Sivanto insecticide that targets piercing and sucking pests, including Asian citrus psyllid, in time for the 2015 growing season.

“It’s very bee friendly,” says Phil McNally, a senior technical services representative for the south San Joaquin Valley, California. “There are no bloom [spray] restrictions, and we see this as a real big one for us.”

His description of Sivanto came during Bayer CropScience’s field day, June 26, west of Fresno, Calif.

The actual launch date depends on the Environmental Protection Agency and its registration branch, But McNally says he believes the product’s reduced-risk status will play well with regulators.

The insecticide, which can be used as both a soil-applied and foliar treatment, targets sucking pests in the homoptera insect order. They include aphids, psyllids, soft scales such as San Jose and ctrocola scale, leaf hoppers, whiteflies and some thrips species.

It also controls Colorado potato beetles, even though they belong to the order coleoptera.

Sivanto controls all life stages, including eggs, immatures and adults, and kills by contact and ingestion.

It has translaminar activity, meaning you don’t have to worry about treating the underside of leaves since it will move from the top through leaf tissue to the lower portion, he says.

It also has systemic activity and will move in the xylem -- or water carrying tissue -- from the point of application toward the leaf tips.

Because Sivanto has feeding cessation activity, bacterial and viral diseases transmitted by homoptera pests may be reduced, McNally says.

Strong citrus psyllid control

In a trial conducted in an Asian citrus psyllid-infested citrus grove on the Cal Poly, Pomona, campus, Sivanto provided excellent control for more than three weeks.

McNally says he surveyed the psyllid population beforehand by taking tap counts.

A clipboard with a white piece of paper is placed beneath a citrus tree branch. Then you hit the branch with a pipe or other rod and count the psyllids that drop onto the sheet.

You do this four times -- once at each corner -- to each tree surveyed.

Before the application, adult psyllids averaged 40 per tree, he says.

Sixteen days after the treatment, psyllids numbered about 2 per tree, or about a 95 percent reduction.

By 28 days after treatment, psyllid numbers began to rise, but control was still about 85 percent of pre-treatment levels.

“Couple that with the anti-feeding, and we think we have a major impact on Asian citrus psyllid,” McNally says.

Less feeding may equate to reduced disease levels, he says.

The same would hold true for other insect-disease complexes, such as glassywinged sharpshooter and Pierce’s disease, vine mealybug and grapevine leafroll, and whiteflies and cucurbit yellow stung disorder virus.

The insecticide belongs to the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee’s Group 4. But Robert Steffens, director of research at Bayer CropScience’s U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park, N.C., says scientists are still trying to pinpoint the exact mode of action.

When that occurs, Sivanto will most likely be put into a Group 4 subgroup.

Bayer’s Admire Pro, which has the active ingredient imidacloprid, belongs to Group 4A.

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