Acreage declines, pests continue light for summer vegetables

Pest pressures remain relatively light for coastal vegetables, with growers reporting they have been able to eliminate one or perhaps two applications due to lighter pressures from worms, mildew, aphids, and other typical pests.

“Pest pressures most of the season have been pretty low,” says Jose Valdez, PCA for D’Arrigo Bros. at Salinas, Calif. “Thrips pressure has been constant, but aphids, mildew, and other pests have been light on lettuce and broccoli.”

But thrips still were a challenge in many Salinas Valley vegetable crops in early August, with several PCAs reporting that red and green peach aphids were just beginning to show up in lettuce, broccoli, and other cool season vegetables. Most PCAs were still emphasizing thrips control in the pesticide products they selected. However, with aphids becoming more of a factor, many were also turning to imidicloprid and other materials with targeted aphid control.

Some of the first mildew pressures of the season were reported in early August, but light pressures due to an overall lack of early morning fog have allowed some growers to skip their fourth scheduled insect/mildew spray.

There were some reports of diamondback moth showing up in cole crops, but PCAs said pests generally appear to be unseasonably light. Lygus have been more of a problem in coastal berries, though pressures seem to be leveling off. Lygus have also been reported in scattered lettuce and celery fields, says Salinas Valley PCA Efren Calaya. Three-day picking schedules on strawberries were making lygus control challenging in fields that did have a problem.

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