How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Relative Toxicities of Insecticides, Miticides, and Molluscicides Used in Avocados to Natural Enemies and Honey Bees

(Reviewed 1/07, updated 2/14, pesticides updated 5/15)

In this Guideline:

Common name (example trade name) Mode of action1 Selectivity2 (affected groups) Predatory mites3 General predators4 Parasites4 Honeybees5 Duration of impact to natural enemies6
abamectin (Epi‑Mek) 6 moderate (mites, thrips) M M7 M/H II moderate to predatory mites and long to affected insects
Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. aizawai 11A narrow (caterpillars) L L L IV none
Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. kurstaki 11A narrow (caterpillars) L L L IV none
boric acid bait (Gourmet) narrow (ants) L L L IV none
copper sulfate (Bordeaux mixture) trunk spray narrow (snails) L L7 L IV long as a barrier
etoxazole (Zeal) 10B narrow (mites) H13 L IV short
fenpropathrin (Danitol) 3A broad (insects, mites) H H H I
imidacloprid (Admire) 4A narrow (sucking insects) L L I 8 long
iron phosphate (Sluggo) narrow (snails and slugs) L H7 L IV short
malathion 1B broad (insects, mites) H H H II moderate
metaldehyde (Deadline) narrow (snails and slugs) L H7 L IV short
oil, narrow-range broad (exposed insects, mites) L L L III short
pyrethrin (PyGanic) 3A moderate (insects) M M III short
piperonyl butoxide (Pyrenone)
3A + — moderate (insects) M M III short
pyriproxyfen (Esteem) 7C broad (aphids, catepillars, flies, leafminers, scale, whitefiles) L H12 L IV long
sabadilla (Veratran‑D) narrow (feeding thrips) L L L IV short
spinetoram (Delegate) 5 narrow (thrips) M M9 L/M III moderate10
spinosad (Success, Entrust) 5 narrow (thrips) M M9 L/M III11 moderate9
spirodiclofen (Envidor) 23 narrow (mites) L I
spirotetramat (Movento) 23 narrow (aphids, scale, psyllids, whitefiles) L L L short
sulfur narrow (mites) L/H L H IV moderate
H = high      M = moderate     L = low     — = no information
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode of action Group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at
2 Selectivity: Broad means it affects most groups of insects and mites; narrow means it affects only a few specific groups.
3 Generally, toxicities are to western predatory mite, Galendromus occidentalis. Where differences have been measured in toxicity of the pesticide resistant strain versus the native strain, these are listed as pesticide-resistant strain/native strain.
4 Toxicities are averages of reported effects and should be used only as a general guide. Actual toxicity of a specific chemical depends on the species of predator or parasite, environmental conditions, and application rate.
5 Ratings are as follows:
  • I. Do not apply to blooming plants
  • II. Apply only during late evening
  • III. Apply only during late evening, night, or early morning
  • IV. Apply at any time with reasonable safety to bees

For more information, see How to Reduce Bee Poisoning From Pesticides (PDF), Pacific Northwest Extension Publication PNW591.

6 Duration: Short means hours to days; moderate means days to 2 weeks; and long means many weeks or months.
7 Toxic to predatory decollate snail.
8 Remove bee hives from avocado orchards before to application; hives may be returned only after the avocado bloom period has ended.
9 Toxic against some natural enemies (predatory thrips, syrphid fly and lacewing larvae, beetles) when sprayed and up to 5-7 days after, especially for syrphid fly larvae.
10 Residual is moderate if solution is between pH of 7 to 8.
11 Safe to bees 2 hr after application has dried.
12 Kills lady beetles.



[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Avocado
UC ANR Publication 3436

General Information

Acknowledgments: This table was compiled based on research data and experience of University of California scientists who work on a variety of crops and contribute to the Pest Management Guideline database, and from Flint, M. L. and S. H. Dreistadt. 1998. Natural Enemies Handbook: An Illustrated Guide to Biological Pest Control, ANR Publication 3386.

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