Be wary of small orchard pests afflicting tree health, nut quality and yield
(Sponsored) While navel orangeworm often garners the most attention when talking about orchard pests, small pests can be just as devastating. Spider mites and ants can generate damaging consequences for tree health, nut quality and yield.
“Ant and spider mite infestations are typically dependent on the environment,” explained Tanner Lowrey, area business manager for Atticus, LLC. “You’ll see both more frequently in drier conditions, and the drought situation in California means we need to pay close attention to these small pests. When it’s hot and dry, spider mites can flare quickly, and ants prefer dry, sandy soils where it’s easier to establish their colony.”
KEYS TO CONTROLLING ANTS
The environment, nearby crops and timing are three keys to effectively controlling ants. Regardless of soil type, dry conditions give ants a better chance to establish colonies without rain washing them out. Likewise, sandy soils are easier to tunnel through.
Nearby crops can also serve as a siren to hungry ants. Crops like grapes can host insects that ants like to consume. Keep tabs on if mealy bug infestations are present in adjacent vineyards. “Ants will farm mealy bug populations for the honeydew they produce,” Lowrey said.
Timing control measures is another key to effective ant management. This includes understanding the level of pressure your orchard is under. If ant populations are high, two insecticide applications may be needed.
“Timing is critical. You want to treat several weeks before harvest to keep ants off orchard floors where nuts are shaken from trees. If not controlled before harvest, they can hollow out nutmeats within the fallen nuts,” Lowrey explained. This feeding can reduce nut quality and yield.
Applying an insect growth regulator like Reemit™ 0.5 G Fire Ant Bait (comparable to Esteem® Ant Bait) provides long-lasting protection. “Remember ants are social creatures, so using a granular product like Reemit 0.5 G helps ensure ants will take the bait back to their colony,” Lowrey said. There the queen ingests the bait, which disrupts her reproductive cycle and prevents larvae from developing, effectively destroying the colony in a matter of weeks.
TIPS TO MANAGE SPIDER MITES
Much like ants, spider mite populations are influenced by their environment. “Spider mites feed on weakness, so check sick trees first,” Lowrey said.
“They like dusty environments, so increase scouting frequency in hot, dry conditions when infestations can spread quickly. And water stress makes damage worse, which means adequate irrigation can be a tool to prevent widespread outbreaks,” Lowrey explained.
Another tool to manage mite populations is beneficial insects like sixspotted thrips, lady beetle and lacewings. “Atticus provides several products to target mites while allowing beneficials to continue to work for you,” Lowrey said.
Knowing which life stage most of the mites are in can help guide which miticide will best subdue smaller outbreaks.
Zara™ WSB insecticide-miticide (comparable to Zeal® miticide) works best from egg to nymph stages but is effective on all life stages.
To break the early lifecycle stages of mites, Zorro™ SC miticide (comparable to Apollo® miticide) offers contact and residual control of egg and larval stages.
Ruger™ 1 EC miticide (comparable to Onager® miticide) controls both immature-stage mites and mite eggs, as well as renders eggs unviable when deposited on treated tree surfaces.
“For heavier mite infestations, Atticus offers two formulations of Enervate™ miticide,” Lowrey said. “Enervate 50 WSB (comparable to Acramite® 50WS) is a wettable powder, while Enervate 4 SC (comparable to Acramite® 4SC and Vigilant™ 4SC) is a suspension concentrate. Both formulations deliver up to 28 days of residual control and are effective even on resistant populations.”
As your nut crops grow closer to harvest, it’s important to remain vigilant against threats to tree health and yield potential. Even the smallest of insects can compromise tree health, nut quality and yield potential. Connect with your retailer to ensure your orchards are protected with targeted insecticides from Atticus.
Working closely with its retail distribution partners, Atticus delivers relevant, branded-generic products that meet agronomic and business needs, so you get the most from your input requirements. Atticus puts its experience to work so you can focus on production and help meet the demands of the food supply now and in the future. Learn more at AtticusLLC.com.
© 2022 Atticus. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Not all products are registered for use in every state. Enervate™ 4 SC is not manufactured or distributed by Chemtura Corporation, seller of Acramite® 4SC and Vigilant™ 4SC. Enervate™ 50 WSB is not manufactured or distributed by MacDermid Agricultural Solutions, Inc, seller of Acramite® 50WS. Ruger™ 1 EC is not manufactured or distributed by Gowan, seller of Onager® miticide. Reemit™ 0.5 G Fire Ant Bait and Zara™ WSB are not manufactured or distributed by Valent U.S.A. Corporation, seller of Esteem® Ant Bait and Zeal® Miticide. Zorro™ SC is not manufactured or distributed by ADAMA, seller of Apollo® SC. Enervate™, Reemit™, Ruger™, Zara™ and Zorro™ are trademarks of Atticus, LLC. All other marks are property of their respective owners.
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