University of Arizona (UA) Extension Entomologist John Palumbo has researched truckloads of new chemistry to control the horde of pests that seem to descend voraciously on desert vegetable growers in southwest Arizona.

Be it whitefly, a growing community of mites, or ever-emerging new aphids, Palumbo has seen it all in his 17 years at the UA's Yuma Research Center.

Therefore, when Palumbo, one of the most respected university entomologists in California or Arizona, calls something the “real deal … a unique product,” pest control advisers (PCAs), like those gathered at the vegetable consultants conference in San Diego sponsored by Bayer CropScience, listen up.

It is not as if there are no insecticides to control whiteflies and aphids in desert vegetable and melon production. A good selection of insect growth regulators and neonicotinoid insecticides are certainly currently available.

It is the potential for resistance to the existing products that prompts Palumbo to hang a “real deal” moniker on Movento, a new reduced-risk, lipid biosynthesis inhibitor from Bayer that is expected to get an EPA label early next year, and a California use label in 45 to 60 days following, since it is on a parallel registration path both in California and on the federal level.

“It is a foliar systemic product that is definitely an alternative to the IGRs and the neonicotinoids we are now using,” said Palumbo.

It has excellent activity on green peach, potato, foxglove and lettuce aphids and whiteflies — but not much activity on thrips, and Palumbo would recommend a sister product, Oberon, for mite control, especially in melons.

“To be effective, you must use an adjuvant with the product,” he said.

In several years of testing the product, including 13 trials last season, Movento's residual control was as consistent as anything on the market.

“There is a rate relationship to that residual control. What has impressed me with the product is its quality response. It will push the industry standard because it consistently kept pests at low levels for a longer period of time. This means fewer applications for aphid control,” he said.

One of its biggest attributes is its systemic action, which allows it to control aphids well past the time other products control the sucking insect pest.

Palumbo calls this a “clean up” alternative. When aphids get inside head lettuce, they are almost impossible to control with existing foliar sprays.

“We had 100 aphids per head of lettuce and 11 days after Movento went on, the aphids almost zeroed out. That is impossible to do with other foliars.”

He saw similar results from injecting the product via sprinklers. Palumbo reduced a very high count of aphids by 90 percent in a particular sprinkler trial.

“There is surely a lot more research work to be done here, but I think there is a very good potential for using this product with sprinklers.”