Production and processing of specialty crops in Wisconsin are very important to both state and national agricultural industries. Nearly all of the commercial, contract green bean acres receive an at-plant seed treatment of a Group 4A insecticide (neonicotinoid). Increasingly, producers rely heavily on this single class of insecticides for control of early season pests including seed maggots, potato leafhopper, and bean leaf beetles. Reported at-plant applications of these neonicotinoid seed treatments have occurred on nearly 90% of all acres reported and reflect statewide use rates in many other grain crops. Concomitantly, both native and domestic pollinators are experiencing declines and even disappearance in localized regions of the US on an unprecedented level. Despite a remarkably intensive level of research effort towards understanding causes of pollinator declines and managed honeybee colony losses in the US, overall losses continue to be high and pose a serious threat to meeting the pollination service demands for several commercial crops. In addition, the US EPA has recently proposed revisions to existing insecticide label registrations for the control of key pests in green bean production. Current and future proposed options for control will be discussed in the context of revised seed treatment registrations.
Soil Science Extension
University of Wisconsin Madison