Agronomist urges growers to act now against pear sucker

High levels of pear sucker adults in orchards have prompted calls from the Farm Advisory Service Team (FAST) for an early start to control programmes.

FAST agronomist Don Vaughan has reported high levels of fly adults, together with eggs at many pear orchards, with some nymphs having already hatched. He believes the problem has been carried over from autumn 2007, when many orchards went untreated.

If an early March treatment is required he suggested a low-persistency pre-bloom insecticide. He said: "Some pyrethroids can persist for up to 12 weeks in the orchard and be detrimental to beneficial anthocorid populations."

He recommended Spruzit from Certis, which the manufacturer claims has a persistency of just three days and delivers effective knockdown. A second insecticide application should be made as blooms are opening to allow coverage of any eggs present.

Vaughan added that post-bloom control of pear sucker, applied at a time when natural predators are in abundance, must be predator friendly to maximise pest control.

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