Pest management approaches and best practices are constantly evolving, whether it be new technologies or new materials. The Almond Board of California (ABC) is persistently involved in working to improve production practices. ABC Director for Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, Gabriele Ludwig led a panel focused on the future of pest management during the 2022 Almond Conference. One area of discussion was centered on the management of leaffooted bugs, and how to address current monitoring and trapping limitations. More than seven years of work have gone into developing a more effective pheromone trap.
“Where we are right now is, chemists have extracted and figured out the key elements that are attractive and that do work,” Ludwig explained. “Now it really needs to be about refining it, seeing if it could be made cheaper, and then moving it into the commercial space.”
Pheromone developments have also been integral for managing navel orangeworm. Mating disruption remains quite effective. However, the value of the approach is maximized when deployed on a large scale. Ludwig said that a project funded by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation was piloted in Stanislaus County and shows promise. The tool connects growers with their neighbors to encourage more coordinated use of mating disruption on a wider scale.
“If you are using mating disruption but would like to see it in a larger area around you, put in that you are. If you’re not, and are interested in doing it, then put in that you’re interested in it and the tool will notify you of opportunities, if anyone else around you is interested. So you could talk to your neighbors and say, ‘okay can we work on this together?’” Ludwig explained. “It’s not just for almonds. It’s for almonds, walnuts, and pistachios since we all know that navel orangeworm likes all three of those crops.”
As part of ABC’s ongoing efforts to advance pest management in almond orchards, the organization is looking into the potential of biopesticides. ABC is currently seeking applications from developers to assess the efficacy of biopesticide materials.
Listen to Ludwig’s interview below.