Ants potentially can be a serious problem in almond orchards said Kris Tollerup a UC Cooperative Extension Area Wide IPM advisor based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension center in Parlier, southeast or Fresno. “Ants can be a very serious problem,” Tollerup said.“I’ve had growers get up to 12% damage, but the interesting thing is that there’s only a couple of ant species that are really important.”
And Tollerup said that’s the Southern fire ant and the pavement ant. And we asked Tollerup how a grower would go about identifying these ants. “You can go out and collect some ants using corn chips in vials and put out several vials into the orchard and collect them in the morning and throw them in the freezer and the next day, put them out on a plate and look at them with a hand lens. And there’s some very good resources on the University of California IPM website that’ll help identify those ants,” he said.
Tollerup noted sampling should be done anytime through April and May.“It gives you plenty of time to get out there, identify those ants, and see what you got,” he said. “And the interesting thing is that you don’t have to sample, but just one time a year or maybe even one time every couple of years because ants don’t reinvest orchards very, very quickly.”
And if you have an ant issue, go to the UCI PM website on ants where they also have recommendations on control products. Again, over the next six weeks is a good time to be looking for those yield-robbing ants.