Apr 20, 2022Managing Whiteflies on Spring Melons (2022)To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu
With melon season on full bloom, you will also start seeing diseases on melons. Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder is more of a problem on fall melons but they can also occur in summer melons. And it is always a good idea to be prepared for the next crop. Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder is a cucurbit disease caused by a plant virus named Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV; genus Crinivirus, family Closteroviridae). This virus was first detected in southern California and Arizona in 2006 and infects cantaloupe and honeydew melon, watermelon, and various types of squash. CYSDV is transmitted exclusively by the whitefly, Bemisia tabaci. Symptoms always start from the oldest leave which is a diagnostic feature of the virus.
All biotypes of B. tabaci known to exist in North America can transmit the virus efficiently, including biotypes A, B and Q. Whitefly transmission is responsible for virus spread over short distances (e.g., within and between fields). However, with high winds whiteflies can move long distances and transport the virus. The virus can stay infectious within whiteflies for up to 9 days. As virus infection is systemic (meaning they have to be circulated inside the plant system to show symptoms) it can take 3 to 4 weeks for disease symptoms to develop following infection. This gives a window for infected symptomless plants can be unknowingly transported and can lead to epidemics. The virus is not transmitted mechanically (by touch, mechanical damage, cuts etc) or via seed. However, the virus can be efficiently transmitted even if there is low whitefly pressure in the field.
The best management approach is to monitor the whitefly population and be proactive with insecticides application. Rotate insecticides with different modes of action Group numbers to minimize development of insecticide resistance. Practice good weed management in and around fields to the extent feasible.
Remove and destroy old crops/volunteers, enforce regional cucurbit -free period to eliminate the virus from the cropping system.
Sweet Shield and Novira varieties seem to do well in Yuma area.
Last fall, we established trials investigating the use of band-steam to control weeds and Fusarium wilt of lettuce in iceberg and romaine lettuce. Band-steam is where, prior to planting, steam is injected in narrow bands, centered on the seedline to raise soil temperatures to levels sufficient to kill weed seed and soilborne pathogens (>140 °F for > 20 minutes). After the soil cools (<1 day), the crop is planted into the strips of disinfested soil.
In the study, we utilized the prototype band-steam applicator (Fig. 1) described in a previous UA Veg IPM articles (Vol. 11 (13) to inject steam into the soil as beds are shaped. The steam applicator was configured to treat a 4” wide by 3” deep band of soil. Three rates of steam (Low, Standard, High) were applied by varying travel speed. The “Standard” rate was where steam was applied at rates needed to reach the target soil temperatures (>140 °F for > 20 minutes). Higher and lower applications rate were examined to ensure target temperatures were met/exceeded to get a better understanding of the efficacy of steam treatment, and to determine if higher travel speeds (less fuel consumption) could be used and still provide effective pest control.
Results showed that application of steam was highly effective at controlling weeds (nettleleaf goosefoot predominant species). At the Standard application rate, over 80% of the weeds were controlled. At High application rates, weed control approached 100%. What was particularly encouraging was that at the Low steam application rate where travel speeds were 60% faster than Standard, and target temperatures were not met, weed control was still very good – about 75%.
Steam treatment was also effective at controlling Fusarium wilt of lettuce. Disease incidence in iceberg and romaine lettuce were reduced by more than 50% as compared to the untreated control (Table 2). Crop plants were noticeably larger and more vigorous throughout the growing season in all steam treated plots (Fig. 2). At the Standard and High application rates of steam, this translated into significant yield increases in iceberg (>300%) and romaine (>90%) lettuce. Significant yield increases were also found at the Low application rate of steam – iceberg (>200%) and romaine (>60%).
The results are very promising, but it is important to note that steam treatment is not an end-all cure for Fusarium wilt disease. At the trial site, disease inoculum levels were considered moderate. However, when inoculum levels are very high, our trials have shown that a 4” wide by 3” band of soil is not effective at controlling the disease. We hypothesize that a wider and/or deeper band of treated soil is needed for effective control. This fall, we will be initiating trials to examine this. We will also be investigating the use of band steam to control pythium and nematodes in carrot. Trial results will be presented in future articles - so Stay Tuned.
As always, if you are interested in seeing the machine operate or would like to test the machine on your farm, please feel free to contact me.
This work is supported by the Arizona Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Research Council. We greatly appreciate their support. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Fig. 1. Band-steam applicator principally comprising a 35 BHP steam generator mounted on a bed-shaper applicator sled.
Fig. 2. Iceberg lettuce planted in beds treated with steam (left) prior to planting and untreated (right).
Prefar (bensulide) is an organophosphate herbicide that has been used for more than 50 years in Arizona for lettuce production. In fact, it is one of the standard herbicides used for this purpose.
The University of Arizona Vegetable IPM Team conducted a Yuma County and Imperial Valley Survey evaluating a portion of the acres checked by Pest Control Advisors. The 2017 data indicated that in 58% of the lettuce acreage reported was treated with Prefar. Similarly, in the 2018 survey 52% received a Prefar application.
This product performs well when incorporated with sprinkler irrigation at stand establishment. It also works best in course textured soil’s such as the ones found in Coachella Valley, California. One of the weeds controlled by Prefar is pigweed (Amaranthus palmeri), which was found to be resistant to glyphosate herbicide in Arizona by Dr. William B. McCloskey in 2012. Other weeds are purslane (Portulaca oleracea), goosefoot (Chenopodium murale), Lambquarter (Chenopodium album), and some species of grasses.
The list of crops in which bensulide is used demonstrates the importance of this weed control tool for the agricultural industry.
According to the 1080 Pesticide Use Reporting Database provided by the Arizona Pest Management Center the list of crops includes: Arugula, Bok choy, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cantaloupe, Cauliflower, Celery, Cilantro, Corn, Cress, Endive, Fennel, Mustard, Kale, Lettuce, Onion, Parsley, Squash, Swiss chard, and others.
Please read the following contribution from Dr. Al Fournier on the EPA Notice- Petition to Revoke Organophosphate Tolerances: (including Bensulide).
Al Fournier, IPM Program Manager, Arizona Pest Management Center
10 August 2022
The EPA has extended its deadline for public comment on a Petition to Revoke Tolerances and Cancel Registrations for Certain Organophosphate Uses until September 25, 2022.
The petitioners, including United Farm Workers, Earthjustice, and several other groups, request that the Agency revoke all tolerances and cancel all associated registrations for food uses of 15 listed OPs, and further requests that the Agency complete its registration review process for these chemicals no later than October 1, 2022. The pesticides are currently at various stages of review, and the proposed deadline does not align with EPA’s published schedule to complete scientific reviews.
Among 15 Organophosphates named in the petition are 10 with reported uses in Arizona (bolded below). Those with known uses in lettuce and other produce include Bensulide (Prefar) and Acephate (Orthene).
Acephate, Bensulide, Chlorethoxyfos, Chlorpyrifos-methyl, Diazinon, Dichlorvos, Dicrotophos, Dimethoate, Ethoprop, Malathion, Naled, Phorate, Phosmet, Terbufos, Tribufos
Read the full EPA Notice here: https://www.regulations.gov/document/EPA-HQ-OPP-2022-0490-0001
To submit comments to the docket, use the following link: https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/EPA-HQ-OPP-2022-0490-0001
To contribute to Arizona Pest Management Center comments, contact Al Fournier