Oct 9, 2015
BASF helps grape grower fight spider mites

Hot, dry weather has plagued the West Coast this summer; many aspects of agriculture have been affected.

“Spider mites pressure is often worse during hot, dry weather, so the lack of rain has not helped,” said Kate Walker, technical service representative for BASF. “Mites are also carried in dust and can spread when conditions are dry and windy.”

Spider mites are web-spinning insects that feed on leaves in a variety of crops, especially grapes. According to Walker, there are three types of spider mites that affect grapes: two-spotted spider mite, Pacific spider mite and Willamette spider mite.

“As mentioned previously, mites feed on leaves and damage the leaves resulting in reduced photosynthesis,” Walker said. “High populations can render leaves non-functional and in the end, that can reduce yield.”

To help growers combat the pest, BASF developed Nealta® miticide.

“Nealta miticide was developed through conventional product methods of screening large numbers of compounds and optimizing activity of interesting structural analogs,” Walker said. “Ideally, the hope was to find a molecule that has a novel mode of action in combination with low toxicity to bees and other beneficial insects. With Nealta miticide, those objectives were achieved.”

Walker said the miticide should be added to an existing mite program because it has a new mode of action. It inhibits mitochondrial respiration via a unique binding site.

“Nealta miticide is a contact material, which means it doesn’t move in the plant,” Walker said. “Nealta miticide should be applied with an adjuvant and in sufficient volume to ensure good coverage.

“Vines should be monitored for spider mites throughout the growing season, and treatment decisions should be made depending on predator/prey ratios.”

Bryan Wallingford, area manager at Mesa Vineyard Management, worked with Nealta miticide during the pre-registration stage and plans to use the miticide in the future to combat Pacific spider mite. He oversees all viticulture operations in three California counties — Northern San Luis Obispo County, Monterey County and San Benito County.

Because of results from pre-registration testing, Wallingford has added Nealta miticide to his “tool box” for controlling mites.

“In our trial work, Nealta miticide worked as good as the other materials that are on the market,” Wallingford said. “The big difference is that it is a different class of chemistry, which helps with resistance management, which allows us to be more sustainable into the future.”

He would recommend it to any farmer looking for a little help controlling spider mites.

“Nealta miticide is a great addition to an IPM program, as it is compatible with beneficial insects commonly used in mite management programs,” Walker said.

Growers can learn more about Nealta miticide by visiting www.agproducts.basf.us or by contacting their local BASF representative.

Always read and follow label directions. Nealta is a registered trademark of BASF.

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