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- This year’s walnut bloom has been strung out. The straggly bloom may be the result of insufficient chilling hours this past winter.
That erratic emergence adds to the difficulty of controlling this pest, Taylor notes. “We can have a bad infestation one year, nothing the next, and then a horrible one the year after that” he says.
Last year, husk flies emerged late and weren’t around long, he reports. However, he trapped them in new areas.
Monitoring traps closely to determine presence of the adults and precise timing of sprays are critical for controlling husk flies, he adds. Some years, depending on the level of infestation and insecticides used, he may spray his trees every week or two until he stops finding egg-bearing females in his traps or until harvest.
To gauge effectiveness of his control program, he’ll check the windrows during harvest for maggots.
While husk flies may be becoming more of a problem in his area, Taylor has gained the upper hand on the codling moths. At one time, he applied sprays, based on trap counts, to control this pest. He’s replaced that with pheromone emitters for mating disruption. “I can’t say that mating disruption has totally eradicated this pest, but in the last few years I’ve caught very few of them in traps,” he says.
For all of last year, the moth count in his traps totaled just 41, reports Taylor, He notes that some growers, using conventional spray programs, may catch as many as 40 in a single night.
What’s more, in each of the last three harvest, processors have found no codling moth strikes in his crop, Taylor says.
Some years he pays more per season for the pheromone material than he would for an insecticide to control this pest. However, the long term benefits of his mating disruption program outweigh the added short-term expense, Taylor reports.
“I don’t spray for codling moths anymore,” he says. “I no longer have any codling moth damage. And, I end up with three percent to eight percent more walnuts to sell.”
This report is from Tree Nut Farm Press, a twice-monthly electronic newsletter published by Western Farm Press during the growing season. This edition was sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection. If you would like to receive Tree Nut Farm Press go to the Western Farm Press home page and sign up for it and other Farm Press electronic newsletters.
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