But what options do growers have that didn't treat in the fall? I'll try and list them all below. If anyone has any other's they'd like to share, email me and I'll add them. As I go through different materials, I'll be using abbreviations for pests with BWA=balsam woolly adelgid, BTA=balsam twig aphid, SSM=spruce spider mite, HRM=hemlock rust mite, and EHS=elongate hemlock scale.
The first consideration is do you even need to treat for twig aphids? If you aren't cutting out of the trees this year or next, you don't need to control BTA. You should walk through your trees to make sure mites aren't a problem, but you can probably skip treatments.
A second consider is what have you used in the past for insect control. It's important to rotate materials from different chemical families. In other words, products like Asana and Talstar are both synthetic pyrethroids and so have similar modes of action. Think about what you used in past years, and try to use other products this year. For a complete listing of all the chemical families, go to the IRAC Mode of Action Classification.
Another consideration is that it doesn't all have to be done in the spring. You can get control of pests in the summer and fall when you have more time and can pick better weather conditions. At the end of this post, I have some possibilities for when to treat if you have all the major pests.
And just a few more words of wisdom: Remember that all pesticides are dangerous to something -- whether the bees in your trees, or the stream insects below your field, or the man putting it out -- so read and follow the label. Labels can change every year, so be sure to read them each spring. Also, be considerate of your neighbors. Remember that getting good coverage is just as important as what material(s) you choose to use. Also remember that if the wind is blowing, or if it rains before the spray has dried, you are wasting your time and money. Be sure to scout after using any of these products to make sure they have worked.
Anyway, here is a list of products, their rates, different mixes and what they will control.
- Horticultural oil. Use a highly refined oil -- 92% unsulfonated residues or better -- at the full 2% solution -- that is 2 gallons in 100 gallons of water. When applied in March with a high pressure sprayer, it will control BTA and HRM very well, and will help reduce SSM, BWA, and even EHS. Be sure to get good agitation so the oil and water don't separate. We're going to be looking closer at Saf-T-Side oil which won't separate in water to see how well that works.
- Asana. Can be used anytime from February through bud break to control BTA (5 oz/100 gallons) and BWA (10 oz/100 gallons). Add a miticide if mites are present. Will also knockdown EHS. However, there is also a potential to create problems with HRM and SSM when using Asana -- even the following spring. If BWA control can wait until fall, rust mite problems can be avoided when using this product.
- Dimethoate. Use at full rate of 24 oz/acre. From last week of March through bud break will control BTA and knock-down EHS, HRM and SSM.
- Dimethaote + Savey -- BTA plus SSM control (the Savey controls the mite eggs). Also Apollo can be used in this manner. Still will only knockdown EHS and HRM.
- Di-Syston 15 G -- There might be some folks who are still using this. It will control BTA and SSM and possibly a brief knockdown HRM. Be sure to apply when there is no wind and scout after treatment to make sure it worked.
- Talstar. Use at full rate of 40 oz/acre. Will give BTA and BWA control from February through bud break. Should also give control of SSM. (Though Talstar doesn't have any activity against mite eggs, it should last long enough to kill the mites that hatch from the eggs). Doesn't control HRM or EHS well.
- Talstar + Dimethoate -- BTA, BWA, SSM and knockdown of HRM and EHS.
- Thionex. Use at full rate of 2/3rds of a quart (about 21 ounces) for BWA control. Wait until mid April through bud break to get BTA control as well. (It just seems that BTA control is more reliable with Thionex if you wait until all the aphids have hatched out). Add a miticide if mites are present. Has no activity against EHS.
- Thionex + Dimethoate -- BTA, BWA control and EHS, SSM and HRM knockdown. Some folks have been using this mix without scouting first, thinking that it will control about every pest. But control of mites and scales will only be fair.
- Envidor. Use at 18 oz/acre for HRM and 25 oz/acre for SSM control. Therefore, if you add Envidor to any of these products listed above, you will also control these mites. Will it keep the mites from developing later in the year or next year? Probably not. I would prefer seeing people keep on scouting and apply when needed -- not as a preventative.
- Dimethoate + Asana -- Use dimethoate at rate of 16 oz/100 gallons and Asana at the highest rate of 10 oz/100 gallons. Will control BTA, BWA, EHS and knockdown SSM and HRM. Wait as close to bud break as possible to get the most out of EHS control.This mix would give better control of EHS in summer.
- Dimethoate + Prev-Am Use Prev-Am at 0.4% solution (50 oz/100 gallons). Will control BTA, EHS and knock-down of SSM and HRM. Prev-Am has burned trees at higher rates, so be careful, but this mix sure smells better than straight dimethoate!
- Lorsban -- will control BTA and knockdown SSM and HRM (?). Will also control BWA in March -- but not once woollies start laying eggs. Will control EHS??? We're still looking at this, but it did a great job last October. We've seen some issues with Lorsban burning foliage, so be careful.
So, what would I use if I had everything -- BWA, BTA, SSM, HRM, and EHS? I would probably either use Asana + Dimethoate and continue scouting for the mites to see it they rebound, treating with Envidor if they do, or go ahead and use Asana + Dimethoate + Envidor (which would be rather pricey). Or, I might wait to control my BWA and EHS in the summer with Dimethoate + Asana, and just use dimethoate in the spring -- and scout for mites later on. If you wait until August or September, you should pick up BTA control for the following year. Or I might use oil in March every year to control all these pests.