Threats to Our Food Supply
Insect pests cause billions of dollars' worth of damage and threaten our food supply, our property, our health, and the livelihood of growers. Insects have a remarkable ability to adapt to environmental pressures, to changes in cropping systems, cultural practices and climate, and to tolerate or resist management strategies, including insecticides. To protect our food supply and satisfy the needs of a growing population, growers need full access to a broad range of effective and sustainable insect management tools to combat insect infestations, such as those in the following table.
For more detail about target pests and chlorpyrifos use, see Use and Benefits of Chlorpyrifos in Agriculture (2016).
|Alfalfa||Alfalfa weevil, armyworms, aphids, potato leafhoppers.|
|Brassica Vegetables (Cole Crops)
(Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Kale, Rutabaga, Turnips, etc.)
|Cabbage maggot, aphids|
|Citrus||Scale insects, mealybug, Asian citrus psyllid, rust mite, citrus leaf miner, katydids.|
|Corn, Field||Corn rootworm, cutworm, white grub, European corn borer|
|Corn, Sweet||corn earworm, armyworms, corn rootworm (larvae and adult), cutworms, seed corn maggot, wireworms|
|Cotton||Cotton aphid, Lygus bug, armyworms, pnk bollworm|
|Grapes||Mealybugs, cutworms, ants|
|Mint||mint root borer|
|Peanuts||Lesser cornstalk borer, corn rootworms, white mold|
|San Jose scale, rosy apple aphid, pandemis leafroller, oblique-banded leafroller, climbing cutworms, American plum borer|
|Soybeans||Soybean aphid, bean leaf beetle, grasshoppers, spider mites|
(Peaches, Nectarines, Cherries, Plums)
|San Jose scale, peach twig borer, peaach twig borer, peach tree borer, lesser peach tree borer, American plum borer|
|Sugar Beets||cutworm, wireworm, sugarbeet root maggot, armyworms, grasshoppers|
|Sweet Potatoes||Wireworms, southern corn rootworm, flea beetles|
(Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, etc.)
|San Jose scale, peach twig borer, navel orangeworm, codling moth, walnut husk fly, walnut aphid, pecan nut casebearer, black pecan aphid|
|Wheat||Aphids, grasshoppers, orange wheatblossom midge|
Chlorpyrifos and Beneficial Insects
Not only is chlorpyrifos important for controlling target pests, but it’s also important because it does less harm to beneficial insects than a number of other commonly used pesticide active ingredients.
In fact, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs sometimes involve designating portions of the crop as a “refuge” area where beneficial insects thrive because more harmful insecticides are not used. Because chlorpyrifos is less harmful to beneficial insects than some other products, it may be used on both the target crop and its refuge zones. The resulting increase in beneficial insects, some of which control harmful crop pests, may help reduce the overall need for pesticide use in the crop.
“Alfalfa fields are managed as IPM [Integrated Pest Management] tools because they host extremely high numbers of beneficial insects that migrate to adjacent crops… [C]hlorpyrifos has a moderate effect on beneficial insects. It is well documented that pyrethroids, the chemical class used most often as a substitute, is much more disruptive to beneficial insects. Therefore banning chlorpyrifos would harm IPM programs and increase the need for insecticide use.”