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Staying ahead of insecticide resistance

Staying ahead of insecticide resistance

It's important for growers to learn and follow best management practices to avoid this problem

by Jackie Clark

Insecticide resistance could lead to significant pest damage in Ontario fields, and farmers, researchers and agronomists must share information to prevent this issue.

CropLife Canada has recently revamped its resource on pest resistance issues. The organization added insect-related information, alongside its weed and disease content.

Though less commonly addressed than herbicide resistance, insecticide resistance is an ongoing concern in the ag industry.

Patrick Lynch, a certified crop adviser, provided further insights on the issue.

“We are concerned mainly about insecticide resistance of insects that are of economic importance,” Lynch said to Examples of potential risks include European corn borer and corn rootworm.

“If resistance developed, that would dramatically affect both corn quality and quantity.”

Other species of concern include wireworm, soybean aphid, bean leaf beetle, and western bean cutworm, he added.

To control insects, farmers can use crop rotation, traps/scouting, genetic solutions and insecticides. When selecting control options, producers must consider the lifecycle and overwintering capability of the specific pest.

And the effectiveness of the strategy varies depending on the insect. For example, genetic solutions are “not as good at controlling corn rootworm as our genetics are for controlling corn borer, and that has to do with the lifecycle of the corn rootworm and where they feed,” Lynch explained.  

“The best that you can do is stay ahead of (resistance) by changing your strategy for controlling the insect and, if you’re counting on insecticide, changing the active ingredient,” he said.

Farmers can review fact sheets, case studies and videos on integrated pest management and best practices on the CropLife Canada website.

Overall, education is likely the most effective way to prevent insecticide resistance in Ontario, Lynch said. 

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