Citrus Growers Excited by New Insecticide

Citrus growers say Minecto Pro is one of best insecticides to hit the market.

Growers are always looking for new products that can protect their crops from damaging insects with fewer applications. In times of low commodity prices, reducing the number of sprays is especially important.

“Getting newer chemistries that aren’t as harsh and can last a bit longer is a big deal for us, especially with the pressures we’re facing right now in the citrus industry,” says Ned Hancock, a citrus grower from Avon Park, Florida, who owns around 800 acres and manages another 2,000 acres for other growers.

Citrus rust mites, citrus leafminers and Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) are the pests that threaten Hancock’s trees the most. To help combat these insects, Syngenta developed Minecto® Pro insecticide for difficult-to-control insects.

Control of Overlapping Populations

Minecto Pro is a broad-spectrum foliar insecticide containing two active ingredients, cyantraniliprole and abamectin, to control a wide range of lepidopteran pests and sucking pests.

“Cyantraniliprole provides a new mode of action for sucking pests,” says Elijah Meck, Ph.D., technical product lead at Syngenta. “It will still control lepidopteran pests similar to that of the first generation diamides, but it also has an extended spectrum to give growers more control over thrips, whiteflies and psyllids.”

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Abamectin, meanwhile, targets a different set of pests. “Abamectin is the global standard for mite control,” Meck says. “It also does a good job controlling leafminers. By combining it with cyantraniliprole in Minecto Pro, we can now offer citrus growers a much-needed tool that protects their trees against multiple overlapping pest populations.”

Lindsay Raley grows roughly 1,000 acres of citrus in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties in Florida. He says Minecto Pro delivered on every promise and then some.

“Minecto Pro is one of the best, most effective crop protection products to come out in a long time,” he says. “Psyllid and rust mite control were excellent and so was leafminer control—something we didn’t expect. We had absolutely no leafminer damage after spraying.”

Residual Activity and Integrated Pest Management

Beyond its broad-spectrum control, Minecto Pro offers growers the benefit of extended protection over a greater length of time.

Hancock heard about the residual value of Minecto Pro, but didn’t expect to see those results firsthand. “Growers who tried it said they didn’t have to spray nearly as often,” he says. “Our initial plan was to try it on a small portion of our acres to see how we liked it. We ended up using it on everything we have. I was really impressed by how long I could go between sprays.”

Syngenta tests show growers should reasonably expect the product to control pests for about three weeks, potentially longer depending on location.

"Minecto Pro is one of the best, most effective crop protection products to come out in a long time"

Lindsay Raley
Raley agrees with that assessment. “We generally saw four to six weeks of control on rust mites,” he says. “Psyllid control was a little less, maybe three to five weeks, but nothing else gives you that kind of coverage.”

Hancock says the residual control from Minecto Pro complemented his integrated pest management program. “Spraying less means less risk to our beneficial insects, like spiders and ladybugs that feed on pests,” he says. “Minecto Pro fit right into what we were already trying to do.”

Meck notes the active ingredients are formulated to target a specific class of insects and, therefore, pose less of a risk to beneficial insects. “Once the spray hits the leaf surface, the active ingredients move into the leaf tissue, leaving fewer harmful surface residues that might affect beneficial insects,” he says.

Protection Against Disease-Vectoring ACP

Of the three major pests afflicting Florida citrus trees, perhaps none is as impactful as ACP. It packs a mean one-two punch by not only feeding on citrus leaves and stems, but also carrying the bacteria Huanglongbig (HLB), commonly known as citrus greening.

“Citrus greening is by far the most devastating disease to hit the Florida citrus industry,” Hancock says.

The data backs him up. A study* by the University of Florida shows orange yields have decreased by about 42 percent since HLB was first identified in the state in 2005. Overall, orange tree acres have dropped by about 26 percent.

“There is no cure for HLB,” Meck says. “Minecto Pro will not cure HLB. To minimize the spread of the disease, you have to manage its vector. Having a product with a strong residual value, like Minecto Pro, will hopefully help slow the spread of HLB by controlling ACP.”

Hancock says Minecto Pro gave him the protection he needed. “Minecto Pro gave great control over both psyllid nymphs and adults,” he says. “When you add up how long it lasts with how well it performed, you’re looking at a special product. There are few insecticides on the market right now that are truly outstanding. Minecto Pro is one of them.”

*“Impact of Citrus Greening on Citrus Operations in Florida,” Ariel Singerman and Pilar Useche, University of Florida.