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Diamondback Moth on Arizona Cole Crops: 2018 Survey Results (August 22, 2018)
In Arizona, the diamondback moth (DBM) is typically considered a minor pest that occasionally builds up to damaging levels in the winter and spring. In most years, growers can easily control the pest with 1-2 well timed insecticide sprays. But in the fall 2016 outbreaks of an invasive DBM population occurred throughout all vegetable growing regions in Arizona where it was determined that the source of the DBM originated from infested transplants grown in desert greenhouses. We later discovered that the invasive DBM population was very resistant to the diamide insecticides (Coragen, Beseige, Belt and Vetica). The DBM infestations experienced by Arizona growers in 2016-17 were not anticipated, and overall, the resistant pest caused serious economic losses in cole crops. Prior to the 2017-18 growing season, PCAs and growers were very apprehensive about the resistant DBM reappearing on their fall crops. However, the population abundance of DBM in the desert last season was significantly lower than what was observed under widespread outbreak conditions in 2016. We received no complaints from PCAs or growers of uncontrollable DBM infestations, crop damage or yield losses in 2017, and PCAs reported having no difficulty controlling larvae or adults with commonly used insecticides, including the diamides. Field trials and lab bioassays conducted at the Yuma Ag Center confirmed the local DBM populations were susceptible to these insecticides. Field inspections of transplants yielded no larvae on plants arriving from local and coastal nurseries. Thus, we have concluded that the DBM that appeared in 2017-18 were a distinctly different population than those that infested crops in the fall of 2016. It is likely that the DBM population in 2017 migrated onto both direct-seeded and transplanted cole crops in wind currents following September storms. In an attempt to document the impact of the DBM outbreaks on Arizona cole crops, we conducted a two-part survey of growers and PCAs from Yuma, Maricopa and Imperial Counties in May 2018 to (1) estimate the severity of yield losses from DBM on direct-seeded and transplanted cole crops, and (2) the intensity of chemical management required to control DBM, and associated level of control provided by each insecticide product used. To download a copy of the survey results, please go to Diamondback Moth on Desert Cole Crops in 2017.

Name that Insecticide
Pyrifluquinazon, PQZ

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For questions or comments on any of the topics please contact Marco Pena at the Yuma Agricultural Center.
College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

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