University of Florida

Management of Leafy Vegetable Insect Pests

Situation or Issue Identification

The serpentine leafminer causes yield and cosmetic damages and requires a delicate management of pesticide resistance to keep it under control. Aphids have recently caused major losses to the lettuce and cabbage industries through virus transmission and contamination of heads that leads to rejection at harvest. Diamondback moth, the most important cabbage pest, has become resistant to most available pesticides.

Rationale for Research Support Resources

These $25 million industries in south Florida have had some major setbacks during the last four years, including the closing of the largest lettuce production farm in the state. Other smaller growers have begun growing lettuce and others have greatly expanded their acreage. These growers need research and information to support their efforts to produce profitable crops under the economic and environmental stresses of farming in Florida. The Food Quality Protection Act will likely result in losses of pesticide labels for the remaining effective controls for diamondback moth.

Measurable or Potential Impact in Terms of Social, Economic, and/or Environmental Factors Resulting from Expenditure of Research Support Funds

Research is directed at keeping pesticide inputs to a minimum and managing use of remaining effective pesticides and testing new pesticides. As a result of research conducted on new pesticides, the state of Florida was awarded a Section 18 for the use of SpinTor (DowElanco Inc.) for control of diamondback moths just as Valent and Bayer pulled their labels for use of Monitor for control of these pests in cabbage. This averted a crisis in control of this insect. Grower meetings were held where results, control strategies, and identification information were disseminated. A regional system of suction traps was established to keep growers notified of aphid flights and control recommendations based on the species complex.

Collaborating Organizations/Agencies & Teaching/Research/Extension Partnerships

Research findings were and will continue to be disseminated to the growers at field days and other Extension events through cooperation with Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Agents and publication of results in grower magazines, such as Florida Grower and Rancher.

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Click Beetle - wireworm adult