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© 2007 Plant Management Network.
Accepted for publication 6 July 2006. Published 19 July 2007.

Perspectives from the Crop Protection Industry: Suggestions for Collaborative Resistance Management

Insecticide Resistance Action Committee:

Caydee Savinelli, Syngenta Crop Protection Inc., 410 Swing Road Greensboro, NC, 27409; John Immaraju, AMVAC Chemical Corporation; Chuck Schiller, Arysta LifeScience NA; David Rogers, Bayer CropScience; Venkat Pedibhotla, BASF Corporation; Phil Robinson, United Phosphorus Inc; Mark Dekeyser, Chemtura Company; Gary D. Thompson, Dow AgroSciences; Bruce Stanley, DuPont Crop Protection; Chuck Staetz, FMC; Rob Hummel, Mitsui/Landis International; Graham Head, Monsanto LLC; John Wrubel, Nisso America Inc; and Joe Chamberlin, Valent USA Corp.

Corresponding author: Caydee Savinelli.

Savinelli, C., Immaraju, J., Schiller, C., Rogers, D., Pedibhotla, V., Robinson, P., Dekeyser, M., Thompson, G. D., Stanley, B., Staetz, C., Hummel, R., Head, G., Wrubel, J., and Mayhew, T. 2007. Perspectives from the crop protection industry: Suggestions for collaborative resistance management. Online. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-2007-0719-07-PS.

Pest management and prevention of resistance development are serious issues for the crop protection industry. The development of pest resistance to a company’s product poses significant problems, both in terms of revenue loss and poor product perception in the eyes of the customers. The loss of revenue is a significant motivation for the industry to engage in the issue of resistance management. Companies are aware of the consequences of resistance development and need to take the lead in development of strategies that will delay resistance and to develop products within a resistance management framework.

The Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC-US) was formed in 1984 and currently serves as a specialist technical group of CropLife America. It serves to provide a coordinated crop protection industry response to prevent or delay the development of resistance in insect and mite pests. The mission of IRAC-US is to facilitate communication and education on insecticide resistance and to promote the development of resistance management strategies in crop protection and vector control so as to maintain efficacy and support sustainable agriculture and improved public health. Our aim is to keep all classes of insecticides and acaricides as viable control options.

Membership and representation within the IRAC-US is open to any company producing insecticides or acaricides. Currently the member companies in IRAC-US are AMVAC Chemical Corporation, Arysta LifeScience NA, BASF Corporation, Bayer CropScience, Cerexagri, Chemtura, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Crop Protection, FMC, Mitsui, Monsanto, Nisso America, Syngenta Crop Protection, and Valent USA Corporation. Representatives from each company must be experienced and influential in the company’s insect resistance management matters and willing to actively participate in IRAC-US.

Overview of IRAC-US Activities

Mode of Action Classification. The Mode of Action (MOA) Classification is a classification scheme developed by IRAC-International and is used as the global standard. All current insecticides and acaricides are allocated to a group or subgroup. These groups are numbered from 1 to 28 and there is also a group for unknown mode of action. This classification scheme provides a key tool in helping the user to understand which class of chemistry he or she is using. In the United States, many crop protection industry companies now include the mode of action classification on the product labels. The overall aim is to help the product users to make better decisions regarding chemical class rotation as a means of resistance management.

IRAC-US Subcommittees. In addition to the activities of IRAC-US, subcommittees are formed to address specific issues. Currently, there are two active IRAC-US subcommittees: the Neonicotinoid Subcommittee and the Education Subcommittee.

The Neonicotinoid Subcommittee of IRAC-US was created in 2003 with the charter to act as the official industry body for coordinating information and resources on resistance management for the neonicotinoid chemical class. Recent public interest in insecticide resistance issues, as well as the publication of EPA Pesticide Registration (PR) Notice 2001-5 on "Guidance for Pesticide Registrants on Pesticide Resistance Management Labeling," had highlighted the need for an accepted representation from the Industry in North America.

Members of the Neonicotinoid Subcommittee of IRAC-US will help coordinate information exchange outside of industry, identify information resources within government, universities, and public on neonicotinoid insecticide resistance management issues, and serve as spokespersons for the industry’s view on neonicotinoid IRM issues by providing an outlet for comments and position papers.

The Neonicotinoid Subcommittee will help clarify the IRAC-US guidelines and policies unique to North America for as required. A copy of the General Guidelines for Use of Neonicotinoid Insecticides can be found on the IRAC website ( Additional examples of neonicotinoid resistance management guidelines include publications by Dr. David Schuster, University of Florida, "Recommendations for Management of Neonicotinoid Resistance for Florida Tomato Production;" Drs. John Palumbo, Peter Ellsworth and Tim Dennehy, University of Arizona, and Robert L. Nichols, Cotton Incorporated, "Cross-commodity Guidelines for Neonicotinoids in Arizona;" and National Potato Council’s, "Neonicotinoid Insecticides: A Grower Approach to Resistance Management for Colorado Potato Beetle and Green Peach Aphid."

IRAC-US believes that education and communication play key roles in the management of insecticide resistance and has taken many steps over the years to provide educational resources to the public. In recent years, the Education Subcommittee has worked closely with the Southern IPM Center in the development of mode of action labeling educational materials for cotton and ornamentals. These materials can be used by Extension personnel and growers in order to better understand resistance management issues and the Mode of Action Classification as it applies to their commodities.

The IRAC website,, is the main repository for IRAC information and publications. Resources available online include the MOA classification scheme, monitoring methodology, training materials and posters, details of published articles, member contact details, and links to other sites such as the MSU Resistance Database.

IRAC-US External Outreach. IRAC-US works with a number of different organizations that are also involved in resistance management and grower education. IRAC-US is a voting member of the Center for Integrated Pest Management (CIPM) and participates in the annual National Association of Independent Crop Consultants (NAICC) meeting. IRAC-US has also sponsored resistance management symposiums at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) national meeting. The most recent symposium, IRAC Symposium on Insecticide Sustainability: Neonicotinoids, was in held in December 2005. We anticipate hosting another symposium in 2006 during the ESA national meeting in Indianapolis.

Insecticide Resistance Management Guidelines

Growers hold the key to managing resistance by reducing selection pressure and adhering to accepted best management practices for their area. Consistent with IPM principles, IRAC-US recommends the following general resistance guidelines to keep valuable protection tools working effectively and help keep grower costs down.

• Work with a consultant or extension agent in the area and follow local insecticide resistance management strategies and recommendations.

• Scout to determine insect pest populations during the growing season. Use economic thresholds.

• Use insecticides at labeled rates and spray intervals.

• Alternate products of different modes of actions.

• Calibrate equipment for accurate application. Use recommended spray volumes and pressures.

• Include cultural and biological control practices in pest control programs.

Prevention is the best strategy, but if you suspect resistance following a field control failure, eliminate other possible causes of control failure before suspecting resistance. In many instances, lack of control can be attributed to application error, equipment failure, or less-than-optimal environmental conditions at application. If these possibilities have been eliminated, work with local agricultural advisers and the manufacturer to confirm actual resistance to the compound applied. In the event of a control failure due to resistance, don’t repeat the application with an insecticide of the same chemical class until advised by experts  that it might again be an acceptable tool.


IRAC-US is proud of its contribution to the crop protection industry in improving awareness and management of resistance issues. IRAC-US is not only trying to prolong the life of industry’s products but also the long-term viability of agricultural systems. IRAC-US appreciates and encourages input from growers, universities, and commodity groups in the collection and dissemination of resistance management information.

Literature Cited

1. National Potato Council (NPC). 2005. Neonicotinoid insecticides – A grower approach to resistance management for Colorado potato beetle and green peach aphid. Online. Bayer CropScience and NPC, Washington, DC.

2. Palumbo, J. C., Ellsworth, P. C., Dennehy, T. J., and Nichols, R. L. 2003. Cross-commodity guidelines for neonicotinoids in Arizona. Online. Univ. of Ariz. Coop. Ext., IPM Series No. 17, AZ1319. Tucson, AZ.

3. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2001. Guidance for pesticide registrants on pesticide resistance management labeling. Online. EPA Pesticide Registration (PR) Notice 2001-5. US-EPA, Washington, DC.

4. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2005. Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association's 2005 strategy Online. Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP), US-EPA, Washington, DC.