Plant bug infestations have become an increasingly problematic issue for growers over the last few years. Vice President of Member Relations for Blue Diamond, Mel Machado detailed the problem during The Almond Conference back in December. Machado noted that damage from the pest has been on an upward trend.
“It started to become a significant proportion of the damage, you know, with 25 or 30 or 35 percent,” said Machado. “With the loss of some chemical materials that were pretty effective on these things and the fact that they’re kind of hard to monitor in the first place, we’ve seen this thing grow and become a significant pest for a lot of growers.”
Leaffooted plant bug has been a pest for some time, however stink bugs have also compounded crop damage challenges in recent years. Machado described an occasion visiting an orchard with a particularly bad problem with stink bugs sometime in April. The damage was so significant, with so many nuts shed from the trees, it appeared like it had already been harvested. “The brown spot is a result of late season infestations, where the kernel doesn’t drop, or the almond doesn’t drop. If it hits you in April and May, it will shed the crop,” Machado explained.
The increase in plant bug infestations is contributing to more significant issues with brown spot in orchards, which results in higher levels of rejections. Plant bugs are a growing concern for growers already having to contend with other significant orchard pests such as navel orangeworm. Machado is a big proponent of requesting damage reports and analyzing the data to determine what kind of issue is really in the orchard.
“This is something I really want growers to do because it does you no good to be chasing an ant problem if your problem is plant bugs or chasing the plant bug problem if your problem is navel orangeworm,” Machado noted. “You need to know what your target is.”
The Almond Conference session detailing plant bug issues and available management tools is available online.
Listen to the segment below.
Ag News Director / AgNet West