By John Wood, Certis USA Regional Manager
Currently, nut fill progresses in almonds as pistachios and walnuts finish up bloom-in. They will be in nut-fill mode for the next month. Both pistachios and walnuts are susceptible to leafrollers and web-spinning worms, so do not forget your Bt biolarvicide applications.
Critical at the moment, according to the calls I’m getting, is earwig damage to young plantings. I’m not surprised. Last year on any crop that required a wrap, earwigs were an issue from January through September.
Earwigs are nocturnal feeders. They climb the trunk and feed on young shoots and new growth. They can cause major economic damage by killing small trees or cause undesirable regrowth from their feeding damage. For example, if they eat/pinch off the top of a shoot, it will sprout out laterally making it undesirable.
To control earwigs, I recommend the use of Seduce spinosad insect bait to be applied in the cartons and wraps of young trees. Its compressed easy-to-apply granules can be effective up to four weeks. Plus, Seduce stands up to rain, working best when the soil is moist.
Young trees are attacked by earwigs in different phases: 1) immatures that are without wings, and 2) adults with wings. Immatures eat the bait and usually within a day become immobile and die off. Adults are harder to kill, because they are less likely to stay in the carton or wrap an extended period of time (they are more transient at the adult stage) and are more likely not to be affected by the spinosad in Seduce as they are erratic eaters. Maintain the use of Seduce if, on inspection, you do not see adults.
If earwigs and cutworms are an issue on your young tree nut acres, treat the insides of cartons and wraps with Seduce. If ants also are an issue, treat both the inside and outside of the cartons.
Next issue we’ll visit the use of PFR-97 bioinsecticide/miticide for the control of mites. Until next time.
Expert Note: Why are earwigs called earwigs? You guessed it. Ancient lore has it that earwigs crawl into the ears of humans, burrowing in and wreaking havoc with the brain. But relax. There’s no scientific basis to the earwig/human ear story.