Serious side to guide to “encouraging aphids”

David Johnson*

Did you know there is a registered product for early season aphid management in cotton for which there is virtually no resistance risk and that doesn’t wipe out natural enemies of that pest?

Parachute nC27 Paraffinic oil is a registered cotton aphicide rated as low impact on the beneficial disruptive index. Problem solved.

CottonInfo recently shared a satirical guidei to encouraging aphids, and their role in spreading cotton bunchy top disease. They jokingly ‘advised’ cotton growers to get rid of potential natural enemies early by using broad-spectrum insecticides.

“Ladybirds, lacewings and parasitoids can interfere with both the establishment of aphids and their transmission of bunchy top. A hint for the coming season is utilise Group 1 products, particularly dimethoate,” Cotton Info mockingly advised.

And since aphids are virtually immune to it, dimethoate makes the perfect choice “for disrupting natural enemies while doing no harm to your all-important aphid population.”

On a serious note, in contrast, Pirimicarb is IPM compliant but aphids resistant to dimethoate can develop cross resistance.

Parachute nC27 paraffinic oil is registered for control of early season populations of fewer than 20 aphids per terminal shoot and is rated as having very low impact on ladybirds, predatory bugs and wasps in the cotton beneficial disruptive index.

As a genuine bonus, it is under no restrictions in the insecticide resistance management strategy.

All the boxes ticked!

One of the key features of Parachute that sets it apart from imitators, is its inherent hyper-spreading properties. As someone in the automotive industry once said, “oils ain’t oils…”

For best performance from a paraffinic oil, it is essential to achieve as much coverage as possible over the plant from a single application. Each individual droplet of Parachute spreads to many times its original size, maximising coverage and evening out the distribution over the leaf surface.

In this way, the paraffinic oil’s physical (smothering) mode-of-action can achieve its full insecticidal and adjuvant potential.

The other strings to Parachute’s bow are silverleaf whitefly suppression and green mirid control, plus its ideal combination with FMC’s Exirel Insecticide for controlling heavier populations of silverleaf whitefly.

It also has a reputation as an excellent defoliation aid when mixed with thidiazuron or thidiazuron/diuron formulations, making Parachute essential in any cotton management program.

This makes Parachute the ideal product to stock throughout the season as a valuable tool for IPM, resistance management and defoliation operations.

*Reference: Guide to Encouraging Aphids by CottonInfo

*Dr David Johnson is FMC technical extension specialist, northern region based in Brisbane. Contact: 

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