Spider mite insecticide Majestik approved for outdoor crops and vegetables

The spider mite-zapping insecticide Majestik (maltodextrin) - traditionally used on protected crops - has been granted approval for use in field vegetables and other outdoor crops.

The pesticide works by effectively suffocating the creatures by blocking their spiracles. Certis technical officer Alan Horgan, whose company sells the product, said it can help contribute to growers' anti-resistance and residue-reduction strategies.

"Growers are permitted to make a total of 20 applications per crop - yet the impact on beneficial species is short-lived due to the fact that they tend to be more motile compared with the pest and are therefore less likely to be affected by the spray."

He added that Majestik should be applied as soon as growers spot the mites to prevent the pest numbers escalating.

The product has a zero harvest interval - a feature of its short persistence - and has no restrictions regarding operator safety or crop re-entry. It is also permitted for use in organic growing systems in the UK.

Horgan said: "Baby leaf crops have limited control options, as do herb crops, because residues and harvest intervals are a key concern due to the short growing season and quick turnaround - Majestik will certainly be of interest to treat these crops, and also for runner beans, which typically suffer from spider mite infestations.

"Majestik has proved to be comparable, if not superior, in controlling spider mite species compared with conventional acaricides, achieving 98 per cent control with no risk of resistance.

"Early development work has also shown useful tank mix capabilities. Spruzit (which contains pyrethrins and rapeseed oil) can be used alongside Majestik, adding to the control spectrum and meaning that brassica growers, for example, have an extended armoury of products to control a range of caterpillar species as well as aphids and whitefly."

The joint approach means that a range of pest growth stages are targeted. Spruzit, like Majestik, can be used in organic growing systems providing the necessary derogation has been received from the relevant accreditation body.

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