Almond Matters: Staying in Front of Ant Problems

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In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, ant problems can create significant issues for producers come harvest time. Ant infestations can result in substantial damage to the nuts if populations are not kept under control. Field Market Development Specialist with Valent USA, Todd Burkdoll explained that getting an early start to mitigation efforts is the best approach. With temperatures warming up, ants will become more active and will be out in orchards foraging for food sources.

Ant Problems

“Their colony is going to get bigger and stronger and they’re going to proliferate the species. So, it’s a good time to start thinking about controlling those ants. Because if you wait until you get to harvest with almonds and there are ants out there, they can really be a problem,” said Burkdoll. “You want to get them early. You don’t want to get up to harvest and say, ‘uh oh, I forgot. We’ve got to put out something to kill the ants.’ Then you’re doing catchup and you’re way behind the eightball.”

Ant problems can be addressed in multiple ways. Burkdoll suggests applying Esteem ant bait around mid-May to allow time for the material to be taken back to ant colonies. Burkdoll noted that it does not require much of the material to be effective in knocking out a colony. Once granules of the bait are fed to the larva in the colony it will prevent the population from regenerating.

“It will basically nuke the entire colony,” Burkdoll explained. “Which is good because if you knock out the entire population it takes them a long time to rebound from moving in from adjacent areas or whatnot. So consequently, you go into harvest clean and you don’t have to worry about an ant infestation in your nuts as they’re laying on the ground waiting for them to dry out before you pick them up.”

Listen to the report below.