When using insecticides in either conventional or certified organic production systems, it is important to use them selectively. Use should be based on careful monitoring of the crop and target pest’s stages of growth, and also the presence of pollinators plus beneficial insects and mites. Different types of bee species forage at different times of the day. Actively scout your fields throughout the day and identify what type of pollinators are foraging and at what time of the day. AVOID spraying at these times.
If a pesticide application is required:
- Whenever possible select a low risk insecticide that is highly specific towards the insect of concern.
- Make sure you READ the pesticide LABEL to verify it is registered for use on both your crop and for the target pest.
On the label check the application rate, and both the Application Directions plus the Use Restrictions and Precautions. In general, avoid using insecticides at bloom. A label may advise you to spray only in the early morning or late evening hours to avoid possible harm to pollinators such as honey bees. Or the label may say, “DO NOT apply this product to flowering crops or weeds if bees are visiting the treatment area”.
- Rotate modes of action or “Group #” for crop chemicals to limit development of resistant pests.
- Pay attention to the re-entry and pre-harvest intervals.
- Of course, even before a product is applied, make sure you have properly calibrated your sprayer!
Check out these BC Tree Fruit Product Guide links: “Varieties and Pollination” and “Relative Toxicity Ratings of Insecticides and Miticides to Common Beneficial Mites and Insects”.