Almond Matters: Staying Ahead of Ant Populations

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In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent U.S.A., ant populations can create significant issues for growers later in the season. Once trees are shaken and almonds are on the ground, ants will feed and cause damage to the nuts. Field Market Development Specialist with Valent U.S.A., Todd Burkdoll said it is best to get ahead of ants before they become a serious issue.

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“Controlling the ants now with baits works really, really well because you get them as the populations are starting to build. They’re out foraging, they pick up the bait, they take it back to the colony where the queen and the brood is fed that ant bait and it affects the entire population. I’m referring to Esteem ant bait. It’s the active ingredient pyriproxyfen and it acts as an IGR, insect growth regulator, mimicking juvenile hormones within the insects,” Burkdoll explained. “Right now is probably the ideal time as far as the 2023 season goes, putting it out now in the next couple weeks here before July 1 and you’ll get good kill.”

Once bait is taken back to the colony it will take time for the ant populations to cycle out. Burkdoll said it can take between five to 10 days to take out ant colonies depending on activity and temperatures. The timeframe for efficacy makes it essential to get the timing right to have the biggest impact on ant colonies.

“The biggest thing is you want to control that population before you put your nuts on the ground; before you shake. Because after that, basically it’s a free for all. So getting the ant bait on the ground at least two to three weeks before the first shake, and I’d say even earlier than that,” said Burkdoll. “Esteem is not fast, it takes time. They’ve got to literally cycle out, being an insect growth regulator. It’s very effective, very thorough, but they do have to cycle out.”

Listen to the report below.