Almond Matters: Controlling Lepidopteran Pests in Orchards

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In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, lepidopteran pests can create substantial problems for growers. Damage from peach twig borer (PTB) can lend itself to further issues with navel orangeworm (NOW). Field Market Development Specialist with Valent USA, Todd Burkdoll explained their biological insecticide DiPel can provide effective control.

Lepidopteran Pests

“At this point in time, primarily would be peach twig borer and then, later on, get into navel orangeworm as the season progresses and the heat units increase. But right now, I would be watching, right after petal fall in these almonds for peach twig borer and DiPel is very, very safe,” said Burkdoll. “You want to spray it when the pests are present because they have to ingest it. But it’s safe on beneficials, period. It doesn’t affect bees at all.”

Kurstaki is the subspecies of the naturally occurring microorganism Bacillus thuringiensis in DiPel. Comprised of four Cry toxins, the material effectively prevents lepidopteran pests from maturing after ingestion. “They ingest it and then they die. It’s a good soft way to very specifically control lepidopteran pests. Navel orangeworm, peach twig borer, oriental fruit moth, all of them. It’s very effective and coverage is the key to making it work,” Burkdoll explained.

While the Cry toxins are lethal to several species of pests, they do not have any negative impacts on birds, pollinators, and other beneficials. Burkdoll explained that early-season applications for NOW as well as later season applications of DiPel can be very effective. However, coverage and timing will be important to ensure effectiveness. “You have to put it on maybe more frequently if you have multiple flights of moths flying around laying eggs. But as soon as they hatch, they eat it, two or three days afterwards they die,” said Burkdoll.

Listen to the report below.