With almond harvest season under way, it's time to think about post-harvest pest management and IPM practices for controlling pests in almond stockpiles and storage facilities.

Growers and handlers should plan for controlling post-harvest pests to limit potential damage to harvested nuts while paying attention to international MRLs.

Pesticides and their synergists used in facilities are among those most commonly detected in routine residue testing. It's important to verify the international MRL status of all products you use in your facilities.

"Integrated pest management is also important and facility sanitation is an important first step," said Ed Hosoda, vice president with Cardinal Professional Products in Woodland.

"Pests in storage facilities need only a small source of food to multiply quickly so it is important to remove as much of that food source as possible," Hosoda said. He recommends that you: • Clean equipment and sweep cracks and crevices to remove processed almond particles and seal concrete expansion joints to keep floors clean.

• Incorporate pheromone lures and traps for target pests to identify and time treatments, and use insect light traps with glue boards to help contain mild populations.

• Cover or remove nuts prior to treatment.

Before applying any pesticide or active ingredient, Hosoda said it is critical to ensure there is an existing MRL for that product. Contact Gabriele Ludwig at ABC for MRL questions: gludwig@almondboard.com. Cardinal also has links to sites listing international MRLs on its Web site: http://www.cardinalproproducts.com/.