Pest Archives - Page 2 of 6 - West Coast Nut



Managing Ants in Almonds Through Harvest

Protein feeding ants can accomplish a task few other insect pests even attempt. Given an opening in an almond shell, they can, in very small bites, eat an entire kernel, leaving an empty peel behind. Ant feeding, reports Blue Diamond’s Director of Grower Relations Mel Machado, can steal a good portion of an orchard’s crop yield in a short time – before a grower is aware of the problem. His advice to growers is to “look down.” “Growers tend to look up, at the trees, but they need to look at the orchard floors and see if they have an ant infestation.”  

Know Your Ants

Machado cited a well-known tactic to determine if the ants present in an orchard are protein feeders- the species that feed on almonds as they lay on the ground after shaking, waiting for the pickup machines. “Secure a snack size chip bag or a...

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Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Emerging as Significant Pest in Almonds

The good news for California tree nut producers is the brown marmorated stink bug is not widespread in commercial production areas. The bad news is, where it has shown up, crop damage can be severe. In one instance, in responding to a call from a grower in Stanislaus County, UCCE Farm Advisor Jhalendra Rijal said he was shocked to see the damage. “It looked like somebody came through with a shaker and shook these trees on the borders,” Rijal said. “All these almonds were on the ground like a blanket.” Later on, at harvest, Rijal said the orchard suffered losses approaching 30 percent. “It was mostly on the outside rows,” Rijal said, “but the other rows were affected, as well.” The brown marmorated stink bug, or BMSB, is an active hitchhiker, having made its way from Pennsylvania, where it was first discovered in the U.S. in 1998, to the West...

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Spotted Lantern Fly

The spotted lantern fly is joining the list of invasive insects that have the potential to impact California agricultural crops. This pest insect from China has not yet become established in California, but it has been known to arrive here as a hitchhiker on aircraft. Spotted lantern fly has become established in several east coast areas and has been proven a threat to apples, cherry and grape crops as well as hardwood trees. There is evidence in South Korea that it can attack walnut crops.  University of California Riverside researcher Dr. Mark Hoddle said there is reason to believe SLF feeding has the potential to impact tree nut crops in California. According to invasion biology specialists, the SLF is likely to make its way from the east coast to California. Spotted lantern fly was first detected in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. Last year, California Department of Food...

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Gains Being Made in SIT NOW Research

Hopes that sterile insect technology (SIT) can offer a viable alternative for controlling navel orangeworm (NOW) in tree nut crops appear to have undergone a reversal of fortune as researchers were able to dramatically improve trial results between 2018 and 2019. “After the initial field trials in 2018, we realized we were facing a lot of challenges with these sterile NOW,” said Houston Wilson, a Cooperative Extension Specialist with the Department of Entomology at University of California Riverside, who is leading the research along with Chuck Burks, a research entomologist at USDA-ARS in Parlier, California. “As we go into 2020, it now feels like we have a lot clearer idea of what specific issues need to be addressed.” In 2019, the second year of releasing irradiated moths into pistachio orchards, Wilson said researchers documented significantly improved sterile moth recovery rates – a key indicator of moth performance in the field...

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Identifying Rodents is the First Management Step in Tree Nut Orchards

Vertebrate pests chew the bark on young trees, create extensive burrow systems that pose problems with equipment movement and worker safety, damage irrigation lines and in extreme situations, affect crop yields. Roger Baldwin, UCCE wildlife specialist, said that correct identification of the problem species is the first step in controlling populations. What may work for ground squirrel control won’t be as effective against a vole invasion. Understanding biology and habitat of the target species will help with choosing the most effective control strategies. Identify the Pest California ground squirrels are a common pest in many tree nut orchards. They are a social, diurnal species that can girdle young trees, chew irrigation lines and cause crop losses. Baldwin, in a presentation at Pistachio Day 2020, said these mottled grey-brown rodents live in burrows that are normally two-three feet below ground. Ground squirrels are active during the day and have two periods...

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