Almond Matters: Controlling Mites as Weather Heats Up

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In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, controlling mites becomes even more important as temperatures begin to rise throughout the state.  Monitoring efforts have been taking place for several weeks now, but scouting becomes even more critical as environmental conditions change and mite populations begin to rise.

controlling mites“This year, in particular, has been rather cool and wet during the spring and into the early part of our growing season, and so mite populations have been pretty subdued,” said Tino Lopez, Field Market Research Representative for Valent USA.  “But now with the temperatures coming up and the dry weather coming up mites will begin to get traction and we’ve got to start paying a lot of close attention to them.”

Close monitoring will allow growers to know exactly when mite populations reach a particular threshold that calls for action.  Using an insect growth regulator (IGR) early on as mites begin to appear in orchards can have a significant impact on keeping populations at manageable levels.

“There’s different strategies for controlling mites. We’ve been very successful with hitting the mites when they are just starting to build up,” said Lopez.  “If you start early with an IGR program you can get longer residuals; several weeks of control and then just continue to monitor so that they don’t get out of hand.”

For significant mite pressures that appear abruptly, growers may need to alter their approach to include a more immediate remedy such as a contact material.  With hull split on the horizon, stopping mite populations from establishing themselves can prevent significant crop damage.

 “As we hit that maturation period, we want to make sure that our nuts are completely developed and if we allow mites to interfere in that process it will cause severe damage and loss of yield,” Lopez noted.  “Staying on top of it and staying on top of it early has proven to be the most efficacious and the most productive way of controlling mites.”

Listen to the report below.