Web-spinning mites are an ongoing concern in California’s almond orchards. In 1984, another milestone was reached with the publication of “Managing Mites in Almonds – an Integrated Approach.”  With funding from ABC, researchers developed a highly refined integrated mite management program that relies on monitoring and treatment thresholds along with effective mite predators to be sure miticides are applied prescriptively only when needed.

This program introduced the spider mite “presence-absence” sampling technique, which allows PCAs and growers to determine mite treatment thresholds and apply miticides accordingly.

Since 1984, new miticides have come on the market, and ABC-supported research has determined which products work best, the optimum application timing, and the effects of each on the western predatory mite and other mite predators.

The integrated mite management program was quickly followed, in 1985, by the first edition of the UC “Integrated Pest Management for Almonds.” Now in its second edition in print, much of this information is also available online as the UC IPM pest management guidelines (http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu). These guidelines are constantly updated, thanks to support from ABC.

Pest Management Partnerships

In 1998, the Almond Pest Management Alliance (PMA) was initiated by ABC and continued until 2005 in a funding partnership with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) and U.S. EPA to evaluate the possibility of reducing pesticide use in California Almonds. 

The PMA was a cooperative effort among industry stakeholders, including ABC, the Almond Hullers and Processors Association, the UC Statewide IPM Program, UC Cooperative Extension, pest control advisers and growers, CDPR, and U.S. EPA.

The almond PMA resulted in the widely used “Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management Practices in Almonds.”

Another partnership program, which was initiated in1993 to help protect water resources, is the Biologically Integrated Orchard System (BIOS).

Applying research conducted under the Almond Pest Mangement Alliance and the BIOS programs, California Almond growers were able to reduce dormant organophosphate (OP) sprays by more than 50%, resulting in lower costs and less potential for runoff into waterways.

To reduce dormant OP sprays, alternate timings and materials were researched. For instance, it was found that peach twig borer treatments could be made effectively at delayed dormant or in the spring, as well as bloom sprays with B.t. kurstaki.

Research continues on the impact of reduced-risk insecticides and fungicides applied at bloom on honey bees; current recommendations are to avoid insecticide bloom sprays tank-mixed with fungicides, and to time bloom fungicides when there is no pollen available and bees are not foraging.