Almond Matters: Managing Mites Before Populations They ‘Explode’

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In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent U.S.A., warmer temperatures put additional emphasis on the need for managing mites in orchards. Field Market Development Specialist with Valent U.S.A., Todd Burkdoll said he has been seeing overwintering females in several blocks in the Central Valley. Mild winter temperatures have allowed many mites to overwinter, creating the potential for significant pest presence with the weather heating up.

Managing Mites

“With this heat, I would expect the population to explode,” Burkdoll explained. “The heat is what makes mites propagate. The species’ physiology kicks into gear, and they become very prolific. So, I would say if you haven’t considered checking your fields, you better check them right now. Any sign of mites, get out there and knock them out now.”

Waiting too long could lead to severe infestations, resulting in defoliation and orchard webbing. Burkdoll said he saw some blocks down in the Wasco area last year that were severely defoliated in part due to mite pressure. “The trees were under stress, disease stress as well as mite stress. They looked like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree come harvest,” said Burkdoll.

A critical component for managing mites is appropriate coverage with any type of materials that are being applied. Addressing mite populations early helps to eliminate the potential for significant webbing to take place, compromising the ability to get good coverage with miticides.

“I kind of gravitate to Zeal,” Burkdoll explained. “It’s a good product. You’ve got to get good coverage and you’ll be happy with it. You get the true value out of the product, especially in economic times such as they are today. So, you want to get the most bang for your buck, whatever you spray.”

Listen to the report below.