Rainfast characteristics of insecticides on fruit

Precipitation can impact the performance of insecticides on fruit crops, but some compounds resist wash-off.

The rainfall events experienced in Michigan have prompted questions about the relative “rainfastness” of insecticides used in fruit production. In 2006, AgBioResearch provided funds to purchase and install a state-of-the-art rainfall simulation chamber at the Trevor Nichols Research Center (TNRC), after which Michigan State University Extension has conducted trials, with generous funding support from Project GREEEN and Michigan fruit commodity groups, on fruit crops for a range of insecticides.

There are several critical factors that influence impact of precipitation on a pesticide’s performance. First is the plant-penetrative attributes of the various compounds. Some pesticide chemistries, like organophosphates, have limited penetrative potential in plant tissue, and thus are considered primarily as surface materials. Some compounds, such as carbamates, oxadiazines and pyrethroids, penetrate plant cuticles, providing some resistance to wash-off. Many newer compounds, such as spinosyns, diamides, avermectins and some Insect Growth Regulators (IGR), readily penetrate plant cuticles and have translaminar movement in leaf tissue. Others, like the neonicotinoid insecticides, are systemic and can have translaminar (moves from top surface to bottom of leaf) as well as acropetal movement in the plant’s vascular system (moves from center to growing tips of leaves). Penetration into plant tissue is generally expected to enhance rainfastness of pesticides.

The second factor is the inherent toxicity of an insecticide to the target pest and the persistence of the compound in the environment. In some cases, a compound may be susceptible to wash-off, but its environmental persistence and inherent toxicity to the target pest compensates for the loss of residue, thus delaying the need for immediate re-application.

The third factor is the amount of precipitation. In general, organophosphate insecticides have the highest susceptibility to wash-off from precipitation, but their high field-rate toxicity to most target pests overcomes the necessity for an immediate re-application. Neonicotinoid insecticides are moderately susceptible to wash-off with residues that have moved systemically into plant tissue being highly rainfast, and surface residues less so. Carbamate, IGR and oxadiazine insecticides are moderately susceptible to wash-off and vary widely in their toxicity to the range of relevant fruit pests. Diamide, spinosyn, avermectin and pyrethroid insecticides have proven to be moderate to highly rainfast on most fruit crops.

For most insecticides, a drying time of two to six hours is sufficient to “set” the compound in or on the plant. With neonicotinoids, for which plant penetration is important, drying time can significantly influence rainfastness. For neonicotinoids, up to 24 hours is needed for optimal plant penetration, thus the time proximity of precipitation after application should be considered carefully. Spray adjuvants, materials intended to aid the retention, penetration or spread on the plant, can also improve the performance of insecticides.

Based on results from current studies, the following charts have been developed to serve as a guide for general rainfastness characteristics and re-application recommendations for certain insect pests (also printed in the “2016 Michigan Fruit Management Guide,” E0154). Note that these recommendations should not supersede insecticide label restrictions or farm-level knowledge based on site-specific pest scouting, but rather are meant to compliment a comprehensive pest management decision-making process.

Rainfastness rating chart: General characteristics for insecticide chemical classes

Insecticide class

Rainfastness ≤ 0.5 inch

Rainfastness ≤ 1.0 inch

Rainfastness ≤ 2.0 inches

Fruit

Leaves

Fruit

Leaves

Fruit

Leaves

Organophosphates

Low

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Low

Low

Pyrethroids

Moderate/High

Moderate/High

Moderate

Moderate

Low

Low

Carbamates

Moderate

Moderate/High

Moderate

Moderate

Low

Low

IGRs

Moderate

Moderate/High

Moderate

Moderate

Low

Low

Oxadiazines

Moderate

Moderate/High

Moderate

Moderate

Low

Low

Neonicotinoids

Moderate, Systemic

High, Systemic

Low, Systemic

Low, Systemic

Low, Systemic

Low, Systemic

Spinosyns

High

High

High

Moderate

Moderate

Low

Diamides

High

High

High

Moderate

Moderate

Low

Avermectins

Moderate, Systemic

High, Systemic

Low,Systemic

Moderate, Systemic

Low

Low

Highly rainfast = ≤ 30% residue wash-off
Moderately rainfast = ≤ 50% residue wash-off
Low rainfast = ≤ 70% residue wash-off
Systemic = Systemic residues remain within plant tissue

Apple insecticide precipitation wash-off re-application decision chart - codling moth. Expected codling moth control in apples, based on each compound’s inherent toxicity to codling moth larvae, maximum residual and wash-off potential from rainfall.

Insecticides

Rainfall = 0.5 inch

Rainfall = 1 inch

Rainfall = 2 inches

*1 day

*7 days

*1 day

*7 days

*1 day

*7 days

Imidan

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Asana

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Calypso

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Assail

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Proclaim

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Rimon

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Delegate

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Altacor

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Belt

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

* Number of days after insecticide application that the precipitation event occurred.
Insufficient insecticide residue = Insufficient insecticide residue remains to provide significant activity on the target pest, and thus re-application is recommended.
Sufficient insecticide residue = Sufficient insecticide residue remaining to provide significant activity on the target pest, although residual activity may be reduced.

Grape insecticide precipitation wash-off re-application decision chart - Japanese beetles. Expected Japanese beetle control in juice grapes, based on each compound’s inherent toxicity to Japanese beetle adults, maximum residual and wash-off potential from rainfall.

Insecticides

Rainfall = 0.5 inch

Rainfall = 1.0 inch

Rainfall = 2.0 inches

*1 day

*7 days

*1 day

*7 days

*1 day

*7 days

Imidan

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sevin

Sufficient insecticide residue

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Brigade

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Actara

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Avaunt

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

* Number of days after insecticide application that the precipitation event occurred.
Insufficient insecticide residue = Insufficient insecticide residue remains to provide significant activity on the target pest, and thus re-application is recommended.
Sufficient insecticide residue = Sufficient insecticide residue remaining to provide significant activity on the target pest, although residual activity may be reduced.

Blueberry insecticide precipitation wash-off re-application decision chart - cranberry fruitworm. Expected cranberry fruitworm control in blueberries, based on each compound’s inherent toxicity to cranberry fruitworm larvae, maximum residual and wash-off potential from rainfall.

Insecticides

Rainfall = 0.5 inch

Rainfall = 1.0 inch

Rainfall = 2.0 inches

*1 day

*7 days

*1 day

*7 days

*1 day

*7 days

Asana

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Intrepid

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Assail

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Delegate

 Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

* Number of days after insecticide application that the precipitation event occurred.
Insufficient insecticide residue = Insufficient insecticide residue remains to provide significant activity on the target pest, and thus re-application is recommended.
Sufficient insecticide residue = Sufficient insecticide residue remaining to provide significant activity on the target pest, although residual activity may be reduced.

Blueberry insecticide precipitation wash-off re-application decision chart - Japanese beetles. Expected Japanese beetle control in blueberries, based on each compound’s inherent toxicity to Japanese beetle adults, maximum residual and wash-off potential from rainfall.

Insecticides

Rainfall = 0.5 inch

Rainfall = 1.0 inch

Rainfall = 2.0 inches

*1 day

*7 days

*1 day

*7 days

*1 day

*7 days

Imidan

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Mustang Max

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sevin

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Provado

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

* Number of days after insecticide application that the precipitation event occurred.
Insufficient insecticide residue = Insufficient insecticide residue remains to provide significant activity on the target pest, and thus re-application is recommended.
Sufficient insecticide residue = Sufficient insecticide residue remaining to provide significant activity on the target pest, although residual activity may be reduced.

Blueberry insecticide precipitation wash-off re-application decision chart - spotted wing Drosophila. Expected spotted wing Drosophila control in blueberries, based on each compound’s inherent toxicity to SWD, maximum residual and wash-off potential from rainfall. 

Insecticides

Rainfall = 0.5 inch

Rainfall = 1.0 inch

Rainfall = 2.0 inches

*1 day

*7 days

*1 day

*7 days

*1 day

*7 days

Imidan

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Mustang Max

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Lannate

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Sufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Malathion

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Delegate

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Assail

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

Insufficient insecticide residue

* Number of days after insecticide application that the precipitation event occurred.
Insufficient insecticide residue = Insufficient insecticide residue remains to provide significant activity on the target pest, and thus an immediate re-application is recommended.
Sufficient insecticide residue = Sufficient insecticide residue remaining to provide significant activity on the target pest, although residual activity may be reduced.

Insecticide persistence, plant penetration and rainfastness rating

Compound class

Persistence (residual on plant)

Plant penetration characteristics

Rainfast rating

Organophosphates

Medium - Long

Surface

Low

Carbamates

Short

Cuticle Penetration

Moderate

Pyrethroids

Short

Cuticle Penetration

Moderate - High

Neonicotinoids

Medium

Translaminar & Acropetal

Moderate

Oxadiazines

Medium

Cuticle Penetration

Moderate

Avermectins

Medium

Translaminar

Moderate

IGRs

Medium - Long

Translaminar

Moderate

Spinosyns

Short - Medium

Translaminar

Moderate - High

Diamides

Medium - Long

Translaminar

Moderate - High

Dr. Wise’s work is funded in part by MSU’s AgBioResearch.

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