Leaffooted bug can make its first appearance of the season at almost any time in the San Joaquin Valley. Warm and dry early season conditions and the proximity of pomegranate orchards—a favorite of leaffooted bug for overwintering—can lead to trouble for an unprepared almond grower.
Unfortunately, leaffooted bug is also a very difficult pest to scout for because of its exceptional flying ability. Traps are ineffective. And, oftentimes, activity in the orchard will cause leaffooted bug to quickly abandon its hiding place within the upper canopies, only to return when safe.
Still, scouting is the most critical element of effective control of this highly damaging pest. Because almonds are only susceptible to leaffooted bug for a short time—before the inner shell hardens and denies the bug’s needlelike mouthparts access to the nut—growers must be aware of their crop stage.
If possible, scouting should be done in the evening, when leaffooted bug is most active. Shake or bang limbs and watch to see what emerges from the upper canopies. Telltale signs that leaffooted bug is active in an orchard is the presence of gummosis or egg masses on the side of a nut. Dropped nuts are another indicator of the bug’s presence.
And if you see a leaffooted bug, which is most active now through the end of May, it’s time—possibly past time—to spray.
A well-timed application of Belay® Insecticide from Valent U.S.A. Corporation provides excellent control of leaffooted bug and stink bugs, another troublesome almond pest.
Belay is a uniquely effective and reliable insecticide that controls a broad spectrum of chewing and sucking tree nut pests. Its translaminar action quickly reaches pests where they feed for maximum foliage and fruit protection. Belay is an ideal OP replacement, and it offers growers using pyrethroids another mode of action.
Due to the elusive nature of leaffooted bug and stink bugs, speed of application with Belay is essential. To prevent leaffooted bug from escaping during a ground application, consider using two rigs moving in opposite directions in an attempt to outflank and trap the bugs.
Also be aware of what’s around your orchard. If a pomegranate orchard is in close proximity, chances are that leaffooted bug is as well. Keeping weeds around your orchard to a minimum is also important, since they can provide additional cover for leaffooted bug.
To learn more about Belay and the Valent portfolio of tree nut products, visit valent.com/belay.