Insect Control

NOTES:  For the insecticides listed below, one product trade name and formulation is provided for each active ingredient (AI) as an example of rates, preharvest interval (PHI), restricted entry interval (REI), and special instructions. In many cases, there are other products available with the same AI. Please see Table 26 and Insecticides Alphabetical Listing by Trade Name for more information on these insecticides.

The designation (Bee: L, M, or H) indicates a bee toxicity rating of low, moderate, or high. See the Protecting Honeybees and Native Pollinators section for more details.

The symbol * indicates a product is a restricted use pesticide. See Pesticide Safety and Use for more details.

The symbol OG   indicates a product is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) as approved for use in organic production. See Organic Certification section for more details.

Aphids (Myzus persicae or Aphis fabae)

Aphids may include green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) or bean aphid (Aphis fabae). See Peppers for more information about green peach aphid. Bean aphid favors plants in the Chenopodiaceae family (beets, chard, spinach, sugar beet) and feeds on a wide range of weeds (e.g. curly dock, lambsquarters, shephardspurse) as well as many other vegetables, but only rarely builds to damaging levels. Bean aphid adults and nymphs are dark olive-green to dull-black in color, with dark legs. They feed in young tissue of actively growing plants; high numbers can cause leaf curling and stunting. In general, using selective products for other pests will conserve natural enemies of aphids and prevent outbreaks. 

acetamiprid (Assail 30SG): 2 to 4 oz/A; PHI 7d, REI 12h, Bee: M, Group 4A. Swiss chard only.

alpha-cypermethrin (Fastac* EC): 3.2 to 3.8 oz/A beets, 2.2 to 3.8 oz/A chard; PHI 1d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 3A.

azadirachtin (Azatin OOG): 4 to 16 oz/A foliar or drench, 4 to 16 oz/100 gal in greenhouses. When using lower rates, combine with adjuvant for improved spray coverage and translaminar uptake; PHI 0d, REI 4h, Bee:L, Group un.

bifenthrin (Brigade* 2EC): 5.1 to 6.4 oz/A on beets, 2.1 to 6.4 oz/A on Swiss chard; PHI 1d beets, 7d Swiss chard, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 3A.

Chromobacterium subtsugae strain PRAA4-1 (GrandevoOG): 2 to 3 lb/A; PHI 0d, REI 4h, Bee: M.

cyantraniliprole (Exirel): 13.5 to 20.5 oz/A; PHI 1d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 28. Green peach aphid only. Swiss chard only.

cyantraniliprole (Verimark): 6.75 to 13.5 oz/A; PHI 0d, REI 4h, Bee: H, Group 28. For soil applications at planting. For control of green peach and suppression of potato aphid only. Swiss chard only.

dimethoate (Dimethoate 4EC): 8 oz/A; PHI 14d, REI 48h, Bee: H, Group 1B. Swiss chard only.

dinotefuran (Venom): 1 to 3 oz/A foliar or 5 to 7.5 oz/A soil; PHI 7d foliar, 21d soil, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4A. Soil application may be as a band during bedding, in-furrow at seeding, transplant or post-seeding drench, sidedress or through drip. For Swiss chard only.

flonicamid (Beleaf 50SG): 2 to 2.8 oz/A; PHI 3d beets, PHI 0d chard, REI 12, Bee: L, Group 9C.

flupyradifurone (Sivanto): 7 to 10.5 oz/A for foliar application, 21 to 28 oz/A for soil application (Swiss chard only); PHI 1d foliar, 21d soil, REI 4h, Bee:L, Group 4D.

imidacloprid (Admire Pro): 4.4 to 10.5 oz/A; PHI 21d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4A. Soil applications only.

malathion (Malathion 57 EC): 1.5 to 2 pt/A beets, 1 to 1.6 pt/A Swiss chard; PHI 7d beets, 14d Swiss chard, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 1B.

permethrin (Pounce* 25WP): 6.4 to 12.8 oz/A; PHI 1d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 3A. Swiss chard only.

pyrethrin (PyGanic EC5.0OG): 4.5 to 17 oz/A; 0.25 to 0.50 oz/gal, 3 gal/1000 sq ft in greenhouse for backpack sprayers; PHI 0d, REI 12h, Bee: M, Group 3A.

pymetrozine (Fulfill): 2.75 oz/A; PHI 7d, REI 12h, Bee: L, Group 9A. Swiss chard only.

spirotetramat (Movento): 4 to 5 oz/A; PHI 3d, REI 24h, Bee: M, Group 23. Must be tank-mixed with a spray adjuvant with spreading and penetrating properties to maximize leaf uptake and sytemicity; don't use sticker adjuvants. Controls immature stages; may also reduce adult fertility. Swiss chard only.

sulfoxaflor (Closer SC): 1.5 to 2 oz/A. Foliar applications only; PHI 3d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4C.

sulfoxaflor (Transform WG): 1.5 to 2.25 oz/A. Beets only; PHI 7d, REI 24h, Bees: H, Group 4C.

thiamethoxam (Actara): 1.5 to 3 oz/A; PHI 7d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4A.

thiamethoxam (Platinum): 5 to 12 oz/A on beets, 5 to 11 oz/A on Swiss chard; PHI 30d Swiss chard, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4A. Systemic insecticide used as an in-furrow, banded, drench, or drip irrigation application to the seed/seedling root zone during or after planting/transplanting or shanked into root zone after transplanting or establishment.

tolfenpyrad (Torac): 17 to 21 oz/A; PHI 1d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 21A. Except lettuce aphids. Swiss chard only.

Blister Beetles (Epicauta funebris and E. vittata)

The margined blister beetle, Epicauta funebris and the striped blister beetle, Epicauta vittata, are the most common blister beetles in the Northeast. These beetles have also been called the "old fashioned potato beetle". They attack chard, beet and spinach along with other vegetable crops including bean, eggplant, pepper, potato, sweet potato, tomato, and sometimes brassicas. They are very attracted to pigweed and other Amaranthus spp., and also feed in alfalfa and clover. Adults are soft-bodied, slender, long-legged beetles, about 5/8" long.  The section of the body between the head and the wings is distinctly narrower, giving the impression that the insect has a neck. The egg, larval and pupal stages occur in the soil, and grasshopper eggs are a favored food for larvae. There is one generation per year in the Northeast, and beetles overwinter as larvae in the soil. Margined blister beetles are dark gray or black with light-gray lines along the margins of the wings. They feed primarily on flowers and blossoms of plants, but may also feed on the leaves. Striped blister beetles are yellow to rusty orange with 2 black spots on the head and 2 black stripes dorsally on the thorax and the wings. They are mainly foliage feeders and often appear in large swarms, sometimes quite suddenly, and concentrate in one particular area of a field where they can cause significant feeding damage. Blister beetles contain an oily, caustic substance called cantharidin that protects them from natural enemies. In humans, it causes temporary blisters on the skin; in livestock, especially horses, consuming cantharidin causes severe injury and contamination of hay with blister beetles is a serious concern. Where local swarms occur in a crop, a single spot spray with a broad-spectrum insecticide registered for flea beetles on these crops effectively controls blister beetles.

azadirachtin (Azatin OOG): 4 to 16 oz/A foliar or drench, 4 to 16 oz/100 gal in greenhouses. When using lower rates, combine with adjuvant for improved spray coverage and translaminar uptake; PHI 0d, REI 4h, Bee:L, Group un.

pyrethrin (PyGanic EC5.0OG): 4.5 to 17 oz/A; 0.25 to 0.50 oz/gal, 3 gal/1000 sq ft in greenhouse for backpack sprayers; PHI 0d, REI 12h, Bee: M, Group 3A.

Cabbage Maggot

Floating row covers can be used. No insecticides currently registered. For more information see cabbage maggot in the cabbage section. 

Flea Beetles

Several species of flea beetles feed on beets and chard. Most have a wide host range and tend to be moving among various crops and weeds. Most are black. The species that feed especially on brassicas do not tend to feed on beets or Swiss chard.  Damage (small 'shot holes') is most common on seedlings but can occur on older leaves as well.

alpha-cypermethrin (Fastac* EC): 1.8 to 3.8 oz/A beets, 2.2 to 3.8 oz/A chard; PHI 1d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 3A.

azadirachtin (Azatin OOG): 4 to 16 oz/A foliar or drench, 4 to 16 oz/100 gal in greenhouses. When using lower rates, combine with adjuvant for improved spray coverage and translaminar uptake; PHI 0d, REI 4h, Bee:L, Group un.

beta-cyfluthrin (Baythroid* XL): 2.4 to 3.2 oz/A; PHI 0d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 3A. Swiss chard only.

bifenthrin (Brigade* 2EC): 5.1 to 6.4 oz/A on beets, 2.1 to 6.4 oz/A on Swiss chard; PHI 1d beets, 7d Swiss chard, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 3A.

carbaryl (Sevin XLR Plus): 0.5 to 1 qt/A; PHI 7d beets, 14d Swiss chard, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 1A.

dinotefuran (Venom): 1 to 3 oz/A foliar. Swiss chard only; PHI 7d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4A.

imidacloprid (Admire Pro): 4.4 to 10.5 oz/A; PHI 21d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4A. Soil applications only. Beets only.

pyrethrin (PyGanic EC5.0OG): 4.5 to 17 oz/A; 0.25 to 0.50 oz/gal, 3 gal/1000 sq ft in greenhouse for backpack sprayers; PHI 0d, REI 12h, Bee: M, Group 3A.

thiamethoxam (Actara): 1.5 to 3 oz/A; PHI 7d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4A.

thiamethoxam (Platinum): 5 to 12 oz/A on beets, 5 to 11 oz/A on Swiss chard; REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4A. Systemic insecticide used as an in-furrow, banded, drench, or drip irrigation application to the seed/seedling root zone at planting/transplanting.

zeta-cypermethrin (Mustang*): 2.4 to 4.3 oz/A; PHI 1d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 3A. For Swiss chard only.

Leafminers (Pegomya hyoscyami and P. betae)

Spinach leafminer (Pegomya hyoscyami) and beet leafminer (P. betae) attack crops in the family Chenopodiaceae (chard, beet, and spinach). Spinach leafminer may also cause damage in Solanaceous crops. In beets, leafminer is only a pest if the leaves are marketed or pressure is high enough to reduce root growth. The fly overwinters as a pupa in the soil and the small (5 to 7 mm) gray hairy adult flies emerge from late-April to mid- May. The two species are similar, but beet leafminer adults are slightly larger and darker, and beet leafminers prefer laying eggs on beet leaves. Female flies lay oblong white eggs (<1mm) in neat clusters on the underside of the leaves. Eggs hatch in 3 to 6 days. The larva burrows between the upper and lower epidermis of the leaf and feeds, creating a slender, winding ‘mine’ or tunnel. This expands into large blotches of translucent, dead tissue across the leaf, with a white maggot inside. Damaged leaves are unmarketable. When fully grown, maggots usually drop into the soil to pupate. The entire life cycle takes 30 to 40 days and there are 3 to 4 generations per season, with peak activity periods in mid to late-May, late-June and mid-August. Leafminer is most important as an early spring pest, but when populations are high, overlapping generations can cause continuous season-long damage to succession-planted spinach, beets and chard. After August, pupae enter overwintering phase and won’t emerge until next spring. A commercially available biological control is the tiny wasp parasitoid, Diglyphus isaea, which is most often used against Liriomyza leafminers (see Celery section) but has also been known to control leafminers in chard. They work best in warm weather. 

For prevention, rotate beet, chard and spinach to new fields in the spring and during the growing season. Avoid spring plantings near tunnels where winter greens were grown. Control weed hosts including lambsquarter, nightshade, chickweed and plantain. Row covers protect the crop by excluding flies, but scout for eggs on transplants before covering. Scout spring transplants in the greenhouse and in the field for eggs, which are easy to spot on the underside of leaves. Treat when eggs are first observed. If tunnels and eggs are present, treat to prevent further damage. Scout again to determine if a second treatment is needed in 7 to 10 days. Use an adjuvant and ensure coverage of lower leaf surface. Some systemic insecticides are registered that may be applied to transplants or to the soil. Among organic products, spinosad has demonstrated efficacy when applied before egg hatch. Note that some products are labeled only for Swiss chard.

abamectin (Agri-Mek* SC): 1.75 to 3.5 oz/A; PHI 7d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 6. Must be mixed with a non-ionic wetting, spreading and/or penetrating spray adjuvant; do not use binder or sticker type adjuvant. Swiss chard only.

azadirachtin (Azatin OOG): 4 to 16 oz/A foliar or drench, 4 to 16 oz/100 gal in greenhouses. When using lower rates, combine with adjuvant for improved spray coverage and translaminar uptake; PHI 0d, REI 4h, Bee: L, Group un.

chlorantraniliprole (Coragen): 5.0 to 7.5 oz/A; PHI 1d, REI 4h, Bee: L, Group 28. May be applied to soil at planting, through drip chemigation and as a foliar spray. Swiss chard only.

cyantraniliprole (Exirel): 13.5 to 20.5 oz/A; PHI 1d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 28. Swiss chard only.

cyantraniliprole (Verimark): 6.75 to 13.5 oz/A; PHI 0d, REI 4h, Bee: H, Group 28. For soil applications at planting. Swiss chard only.

cyromazine (Trigard): 2.66 dry oz/A; PHI 7d, REI 12h, Bee: M, Group 17. Swiss chard only.

dimethoate (Dimethoate 4EC): 8 oz/A; PHI 14d, REI 48h, Bee: H, Group 1B. Swiss chard only.

dinotefuran (Venom): 1 to 3 oz/A foliar or 5 to 7.5 oz/A soil; PHI 7d foliar, 21d soil, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4A. Soil application may be as a band during bedding, in-furrow at seeding, transplant or post-seeding drench, sidedress or through drip. Swiss chard only.

emamectin benzoate (Proclaim*): 3.2 to 4.8 oz/A; PHI 7d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 6. Leafminer suppression on Swiss chard only.

Isaria fumosorosea Apopka Strain 97 (PFR-97 20% WDGOG): 1 to 2 lb/A foliar; PHI 0d, REI 4h, Bee: M, Group M.

paraffinic oil (Organic JMS Stylet-OilOG): 0.75 to 1.5 gal/100 gal water; PHI 0d, REI 4h, Bee: L. Beets only.

permethrin (Pounce* 25WP): 6.4 to 12.8 oz/A; PHI 1d, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 3A. Swiss chard only.

pyrethrin (PyGanic EC5.0OG): 4.5 to 17 oz/A; 0.25 to 0.50 oz/gal, 3 gal/1000 sq ft in greenhouse for backpack sprayers; PHI 0d, REI 12h, Bee: M, Group 3A.

spinetoram (Radiant SC): 6 to 10 oz/A; PHI 1d Swiss chard, 3d beet greens, REI 4h, Bee: M, Group 5.

spinosad (Entrust SCOG): 4.5 to 10 oz/A beets, 6 to 10 oz/A Swiss chard; PHI 3d beets, 1d Swiss chard, REI 4h, Bee: M, Group 5. Control may be improved with the addition of an adjuvant. Do not apply to Swiss chard seedlings intended for transplant.

thiamethoxam (Platinum): 5 to 12 oz/A on beets, 5 to 11 oz/A on Swiss chard; PHI 30d Swiss chard, REI 12h, Bee: H, Group 4A. Systemic insecticide used as an in-furrow, banded, drench, or drip irrigation application to the seed/seedling root zone during or after planting/transplanting or shanked into root zone after transplanting or establishment. Suppression only and only on Swiss chard.

Slugs

Damage appears as shredded foliage. Look for silvery slime trails on leaves or turn over soil clods or debris to find slugs during daylight hours. Grow plants away from moist, shaded habitats, use clean cultivation, control weeds, hand pick slugs or scatter baits on the ground near infested plants. See the Cabbage section for more information on slugs.

iron phosphate (Sluggo: Slug and Snail BaitOG): 20 to 44 lb/A; PHI 0d, REI 0h, Bee: L, Group 9B. Apply around perimeter, scatter around base of plants, or band down rows. Apply to moist soil in the evening.

metaldehyde (Deadline Bullets): 20 to 40 lb/A; REI 12h, Bee: L. Soil surface treatment broadcast pre-planting, or band treatment between rows after formation of edible parts. Apply to moist soil in the evening. Do not apply directly to or contaminate edible portions of plants.