Almond Matters: Heatwave Exacerbating Pest Problems

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In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, the heatwave that California has been experiencing is prompting more pest activity. Field Market Development Specialist for Valent USA, Todd Burkdoll explained that producers that made good applications earlier in the season are likely doing alright. However, he has seen several instances of increased mite pressures brought on by the recent heatwave.


“We’ve been having really high temperatures, a heatwave that’s come across the whole west coast, and that is ideal conditions for mite proliferation. They just explode with the heat,” Burkdoll noted. “I looked at some fields last week where mites were literally just exploding, and they were webbing over already. Having to go in there and do a rescue treatment for mites was on the menu for several locations.”

Mite populations had been fairly mild up to this point. The heatwave has amplified the pests’ physiology, causing more rapid reproduction in orchards. Burkdoll suggests that growers addressing mite populations also use the opportunity to also combat navel orangeworm.

“As we get closer to harvest, you need to keep in mind that navel orangeworm has had multiple flights and this heat probably accelerated the biofix for that pest. So, you’re going to have more pressure out there this year probably than in years past. So, having something on there to control navel orangeworm is going to be key,” Burkdoll noted. “The worst nightmare is to get to harvest and be three, four, five, up to 10 percent navel orangeworm infestation get docked at the huller because of a pest that really could have been controlled if it was targeted earlier on in the season.”

The heatwave has also impacted the process of making applications. Burkdoll recommends applying materials at night or during the early morning. Going slow, getting good coverage, and making applications when temperatures are lower can provide for better efficacy. “You don’t have the evaporation effect, especially in the heat right now. You spray it on and its dried almost before you get two trees down the row because it’s so hot,” said Burkdoll.

Listen to the report below.