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The Good Oil on Insect Control

The Good Oil on Insect Control

The Good Oil on Insect Control

Winter oil-based insecticides are a vital component of many effective orchard pest control programmes. However, they present the challenge of effectively applying oil through a sprayer.

“What you’re looking for is effective coverage and penetration if you want to get the job done right,” says David Lingan, UPL NZ Ltd’s Adjuvant Product Manager. “Oils work physically to cover insects and even egg rafts to smother them.”

To assist the oil-based insecticide to spread better, an adjuvant is typically added to the tank mix. “Choose wisely as not all adjuvants are created equal, and you can’t simply substitute one adjuvant for another.”

Oil-Mate II, as the name suggests, is specifically developed to combine only with oil products, and works by reducing the surface tension of the oil.

David explains: “The reduced surface tension means the oil can spread over a much larger area than would normally be possible, up to five times greater¹ than if you weren’t using Oil-Mate II. It’s a unique product, and very effective at getting the oil spray into hard-to-reach spots on trees and vines, including under the bark, and into cracks and crevices.

"He advises using winter oils early when plants are dormant for insect control. “This early winter oil application provides a good clean-up, tackling mite eggs, scale insects, aphids, and even powdery mildew.”

Oil-Mate II is a second-generation, silicone-based adjuvant with a low use rate, designed for addition to mineral spray oils. Mineral oils are used for effective pest control in a wide range of crops including wine grapes, kiwifruit, citrus, avocados, pip and stonefruit.

"Armoured scale insects can be a big problem in kiwifruit. These and other sucking insects like mites, thrips, and aphids are insidious pests which suck the life out of plants. In kiwifruit, scale insects reduce productivity, primarily by attacking young wood on vines. They can also sit on fruit causing it to be binned. It’s not visually appealing. And not what the market wants. 
The same is true for avocados.”

David has one important proviso on Oil-Mate II use: “Always premix Oil-Mate with the oil first. Then add it to the sprayer.” For growers who wish to use lower water volumes for their winter mineral oil applications, the addition of Du-Wett® super-spreader, which reduces water surface tension, will help further efficiency. “Using both Oil-Mate II and Du-Wett, you’ve got two highly efficient, targeted adjuvant systems working in tandem. You’ll use less water while also improving the spread and coverage of the oil application with less waste. The lower water volume means fewer passes, reduced fuel use by not refilling as often, and less time in the block for your operator – all of which add up to quantifiable savings.”

As with any insect pest control, David says vigilance is important. “Nothing beats it. And, scale insects, especially, can be present in shelter belts and other nearby trees, so maintain regular monitoring of your blocks.”

For more advice on Oil-Mate II and Du-Wett, talk to your local Fruitfed Supplies Technical Horticultural Representative.
1 Oil-Mate research: FRI Proc, FISAA no 193,303-307, Elliot Chemicals Limited.