War on Bugs

WAR!(rior-T) on Bugs

Tired of losing the battle of the bugs? I know I was. My first two years as a giant pumpkin grower ended in great despair as squash vine borers ravaged my plants. It didn’t seem to matter what I tried. Nothing was working. Sevin , Methoxychlor, and Admire (same as Merit), would not kill them. Slitting the vines to remove the larvae was less than a desirable option since I had more than 25 in each plant. Furadan for me and my family was never an option. With three little kids and the patch next to the house, it was too dangerous. I was at a total loss in my thinking and research for what I could do to stop these pests. Then a friend at the local co-op told me about Warrior-T.

Now one season and a 641 pound pumpkin later, I have a whole new lease on life as a giant pumpkin grower. In my opinion, Warrior-T is the greatest thing since sliced bread for giant pumpkin growers! Yes, it is a restricted use pesticide but here are the facts and reasons. Warrior-T is the newest in the line of synthetic pyrethrins. It has only been commercially available for two years. It incorporates the latest technology with some long known facts. The active ingredient in Warrior is Lambda cyhalothrin. It is a synthetic derivative of pyrethrum and thus non-carconigenic (non-cancer causing). Pyrethrum is naturally found in crysanthemums. What Zeneca (the maker of Warrior) did is take what works in nature and MAGNIFIED it! They synthetically copied pyrethrum and combined it with a solvent base that allows it to last 21 days and stick to the plant. The solvent is the main reason Warrior is restricted. It is a skin irritant and once you get it on your skin it doesn’t like to come off with water. It won’t actually burn you but your skin will feel like it is on fire for about a day. THIS WILL NOT BE FUN. I wear all the precautionary clothing while spraying. Other than that it is one of the safest chemicals you will ever deal with. Much safer than say Furadan or Thiodan. The reason for the solvent is to help it last longer and stay on the plant. After a rain you can still count on 90% strength with Warrrior. Most chemicals drop to 40% or less after a rainshower and have to be reapplied.

Warrior works three ways. It kills by ingestion or contact and it also works as a repellent. Five giant pumpkin growers, including myself, used it last summer with outstanding results. It kills all bugs including cucumber beetles, aphids, white flies, stink bugs, Japanese beetles, and even the squash vine borer larvae and moth. Each of the 5 growers witnessed Warrior’s effect on the vine borers. The moth comes in and she hovers in a state of repulsive confusion! If she decides to land on a leaf “the deed is done.” She will die within the next hour or two. Many times we saw moths come in, hover, and then leave. We also saw moths come in land and either never take off again or fly off drunk land in the grass and die shortly thereafter.

REMEMBER YOU MUST HAVE YOUR RESTRICTED USE PESTICIDE LICENSE TO BUY AND USE WARRIOR. I took the time to study and take my states test last spring. I am very glad I did. My first two years squash vine borers totally wiped me out. Now I have the upper hand. If this sounds to good to be true, try it for yourself before you speak! I had an experienced grower tell me nothing was labeled to kill the vine borer moth. This may be true but what this particular manufacturer doesn’t tell you is they haven’t tested it on curcurbits (pumpkins, squash, and melons) YET! Currently Zeneca is waiting for approval from the EPA to add curcurbits to their already extensive list of crops among which is cotton, corn, soybeans, and tomatoes. They already know it works. It is just a political, red tape, monetary waiting game at this point. Approval is expected sometime next spring or summer. If you are interested in getting your restricted-use pesticide license, contact your local county extension agent.

Brad Walters

Former IPGA organizer