In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, temperatures in California are beginning to warm up, increasing the importance of springtime mite monitoring. Mites will overwinter on winter weeds, in ground litter, as well as underneath rough bark in the orchards and migration will start to occur typically during March and April.
“With the warmer temperatures coming, mite populations have the opportunity to start building. There are some factors that impact that,” said Manager of Field Development for Valent USA Pat Clay, “the warm weather is going to help them reproduce more quickly, but there’s also populations of beneficial insects that are in the field.”
When contemplating when to begin miticide treatments, there are a couple different approaches an almond grower can take. The University of California recommends a presence-absence monitoring protocol. “Usually with the number of mites per leaf, they’re talking about one to three mites per leaf. If you’re looking at a presence or absence threshold, that can range from 25 to 40 percent of the leaves having at least a mite on them,” Clay noted.
The recommendation for mite monitoring is on a weekly basis. If an orchard is known to have problem areas with trees along roads or water stress issues, monitoring should take place every few days. Adequate monitoring will be key when making a timely miticide application, especially when working with a large farming operation. “Those populations can start to build rapidly, so you want to keep an eye on it pretty regularly and as they start to build you want to time your early miticide applications,” said Clay.
Listen to Clay’s interview below.