Almond Matters: Preventing Ant Damage in Orchards

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In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, there are different strategies growers implement to prevent ant damage in orchards.  Several factors come into play when approaching ant management, including orchard history, time of year and environmental considerations.

ant damage“There’s some people that monitor and treat as needed which is certainly acceptable.  Some people just put a bait on every field every year.  They just do that, they’re comfortable with those programs, the baits are relatively cheap and easy to apply,” said David Haviland, Entomology Farm Advisor with UC Cooperative Extension in Kern County.  “Then some people will put two applications on a year, in places that historically have problems.”

Growers can use the level of ant damage from the previous year as one of the indicators for when a treatment may be necessary.  Fortunately, the products available for ant management can be quickly applied to help address the issue for growers.

“If you had a lot of ant damage last year, you can expect you’re going to have more this year because the ants don’t just magically disappear,” said Haviland.  “It’s nice to know that when a treatment is determined to be needed it’s something that’s easy to apply, it’s quick to apply, very affordable, and it doesn’t have any recognized environmental concerns.”

Early treatments can provide for the best possible control of ants when growers start shaking the trees in the coming weeks.  Haviland noted that the UC Integrated Pest Management guidelines can assist growers with treatment decisions, taking into account more specific information such as orchard size and overall ant pressure.

“There are definitely places that have heavier ant pressure than others, particularly some of the sandier soils where the ants tend to do better,” said Haviland.  “But just about everywhere has them and everywhere needs to monitor for them.  It’s just a matter of whether you’re a zero, one, or two-treatment orchard and that needs to be determined every year.”

Listen to the report below.