The Almond Board of California said overwintering aggregations of leaffooted bug being monitored have started to break up and are moving into nearby orchards. Director of Agricultural Affairs Bob Curtis discussed how to monitor for the pest and how to positively diagnose damage.
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From the Almond Board of California
Written by Kris Tollerup, U.C. Cooperative Extension Statewide IPM Advisor
Winter temperatures this 2016–2017 season were not cold enough to have any negative impact on overwintering populations of leaffooted bug. Since mid-October, we have monitored large populations on a ½ mile-long pomegranate hedgerow in the Parlier area. Aggregations averaged about 206 individuals on Oct. 19 with just over 50% of the individuals at the fourth and fifth instar stage. Temperatures remained mild through November, and by the month’s end aggregation size averaged about 30 individuals with 16% and 66% of the bugs at the fifth and adult stage, respectively. The decrease in aggregation size likely occurred due to new adults leaving and not adult or nymph mortality. The temperature did reach a low of 27°F during the early morning hours of Dec. 20, yet no adult or nymph mortality occurred.
Weekly monitoring should begin within the next seven to 10 days through May, and then every one to two weeks through June. In the past, I have recommended positioning yourself so that the sun is behind you and using a long pole to knock branches in the upper tree canopy. This causes leaffooted bugs to fly such that they can be seen or heard. However, a simpler method is to forego the long pole and visually search the sunny side of tree canopies for about 15–20 seconds each. It is important, at this early stage in the season, to focus on orchard edges near pomegranate and common overwintering sites such as palm and cypress trees. Read more.