A Challenge Regarding NOW Monitoring

NOW Monitoring Challenged This Season

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Navel orangeworm (NOW) is the number one pest in almonds and pistachios. There are many tools to monitor and control it, and ironically, one tool is making it difficult for researchers to understand the pressure in the orchards. Joel Siegel, a research entomologist with USDA ARS in Parlier in Fresno County, spoke with California Ag Today about the issues in NOW monitoring.

Joel Siegel on NOW Monitoring
Joel Siegel, research entomologist with USDA ARS in the Parlier office in Fresno County.

“One of the problems now is so many people are using mating disruption that it’s shutting down the pheromone traps, so I don’t have reliable trap data anymore. I have my own traps. Most of them are at zero,” Siegel said. “That could mean no caught navel orangeworm adults.”

“I have some traps that are catching, so I would tell people that the population is on the upswing now. We’re coming up to 2700 degree-days in a lot of locations,” he said.

That degree-day number represents the amount of accumulated heat units, or higher temperatures to push the pest to a new generation. NOW mating disruption is a strategy where the female pheromone is spread through the orchard through special aerosol emitters, and the widespread pheromone confuses the males because of the high pheromone concentration and thus, no mating.

“When you have mating disruption nearby, it interferes with the NOW traps,” he said.

The pheromone trap attracts males to it and gives researchers an idea of the concentration of the males in the orchard. No trapping of males? Then you really don’t know the numbers in the orchard.

“The PCAs are going back to a lot of their traditional methods, such as egg traps instead,” Siegel said. “Time will tell if navel orangeworm pressure is great this year.”

Navel Orangeworm Pressure

Joel Siegel: Beware of Navel Orangeworm Over Next Few Weeks

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Associate Editor

Joel Siegel, research entomologist with USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in the Parlier office in Fresno County, is worried about Navel Orangeworm (NOW) pressure on almonds, pistachios and walnuts this season, “because we have this pattern of hotter winters, warmer springs. And, there is more than enough degree-day accumulation for an extra generation of NOW, compared to what people were dealing with four years ago. And with that, there’s the potential—if you are not on top of things—for it get out of hand.”

Those higher temperatures, he says, are what the worms desire, “Temperature—you can think of it as fuel—fuel for the fire. So the faster the generation time, the more they can start overlapping and possibly resulting in an extra generation, prolonged pressure, and at the tail-end, more NOW going into the next season as well. So you have this cycle that keeps on increasing,” says Siegel.

In describing the different monitoring and spray strategies for the each nut crop, Siegel says, “Well, with pistachios, hull split is not as predictable, so if you have hull integrity maintained, there is less NOW pressure because the nuts are not vulnerable. Navel Orangeworm seems to find pistachios once that hull begins to split. If hull break-down occurs earlier, you are dealing with more pressure.”

Joel Siegel
Joel Siegel, research entomologist with USDA ARS in the Parlier office, Fresno County

“On walnuts,” he explains, “people have been harvesting them later, going into September and October. So, if sun damage or anything else has damaged the hull in these late varieties, NOW will find these nuts as well. So, growers are experiencing higher pressure with late harvest walnuts.”

“NOW management timing is a bit more obvious for almonds,” Siegel explains. “That hull split spray is probably the most critical spray application, plus the new crop nuts are increasingly becoming more vulnerable to NOW. When that hull begins to open seems to be when this moth really notices the almonds.”

Siegel states, “One problem with almonds in particular, is that drought stress may cause prolonged hull-split that is not synchronous within an orchard. You’ll see NOW on the edges and the middle of the orchard, for example, just out of sync. So growers are having to apply an extra spray to treat all of their nuts the first time, and that is a relatively new phenomenon.”

“Second,” he says, “some people get burned in almonds, as they are used to the NOW pressure they encountered two to three years ago when they were not dealing with that extra generation. So they’ve only been applying this single spray; whereas, currently, many people need to do a hull-split spray followed by a post-hull-split spray.” And the way this season is progressing, growers may need to do this second spray over the next ten days.

“With  pistachios,” Siegel notes, “these NOW generations are building. And because of the high economic value of pistachios, people are doing a  second, or even a third shake. So if you have a scenario in which your crop is not synchronous in development, a lot of nuts become available late in the season, just when the NOW population is high as well. So that last 20% of the pistachio crop is where a great deal of damage is occurring.”

Navel Orangeworm does so much damage to the kernels that many processors are offering price premiums to growers for pistachios with  less than 1% damage. Siegel clarifies, “I’m assuming that is the goal of increased subsidies; to help offset either the cost of increased insecticide applications or to offset the cost of puffers for mating disruption.”

Siegel notes some unique NOW attributes, “They are very good at eating a lot of different things.  People don’t realize that although these different nut commodities—almonds, pistachios, and walnuts—have chemicals that help protect them from insects, this worm is very good at detoxifying or eliminating these protective chemicals. So, NOW is able to pressure many different crops and moldy fruit, so that any moldy mummies on the ground can serve as food for Navel Orangeworms. This is why sanitation is so critically important.”

Siegel says California tree nut growers are well-known for their high quality product, and this excellent reputation must be maintained. “Pistachios are a valuable crop,” Siegel says. “Growers must balance these advantages, talk with their processors, and look at how aggressive their pest management practices need to be.”

“The reality,” he continues, “is that a lot of people did quite well last year, and their damage was quite acceptable. So again, my advice is to stay the course; if you are happy with your results, continue to do the things that made you happy. If you got stung a little bit, consider adding sanitation or an additional spray.”

Finally, Siegel summarizes, “The California advantage is a quality nut crop that is high in demand. I assume that quality is never static; it always has to improve and respond to the market. As processors continue to pay premiums, they will expect nuts of a certain quality, and that will be the challenge for growers’ management strategies.”

(Featured Photo: Almond damaged by navel orangeworm larvae, UC ANR)

ALERT: Immediate Action Needed for Thrips/TSWR

Source: Neil McRoberts

For those who have water and tomatoes:

 

Thrips numbers have increased rapidly in the southern arm of the Central Valley and Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) has been reported in all of the areas we monitor,” according to Neil McRoberts, Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology Department, UC Davis.

There are numerous reports of TSWV symptoms in crops from Stanislaus County down to Fresno and Kings County particularly around the Huron area.

 

The current risk in Fresno County is high and we are recommending that growers who plan to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV take immediate action. The current mini heat wave will accelerate thrips development slightly and further bump up thrips numbers.

If you are planning to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV this season, you should target the next generation of thrips (generation 3).  If it is not possible to arrange for treatment in time to catch generation 3, target generation 4. Delaying treatment until later in the season will be much less effective at preventing damage from TSWV.  Coordinated spraying across large areas has an additional effect on thrips populations because it makes it difficult for them to avoid treatment by migrating.

Generation 3 adults are projected to peak on May 17th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 3 and delay further population build-up and TSWV spread.  This means you need to take immediate action.

Generation 4 adults are projected to peak on June 11th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 4 and delay further population build up and TSWV spread.  Treatment in the 14 days immediately following the generation 3 peak date will also be effective.

 

The current risk in the Merced area is high and we are recommending that growers who plan to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV take immediate action. The current mini heat wave will accelerate thrips development slightly and further bump up thrips numbers.

Generation 3 adults are projected to peak on May 22nd.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 3 and delay further population build-up and TSWV spread.

Generation 4 adults are projected to peak on June 16th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 4 and delay further population build up and TSWV spread.  Treatment in the 14 days immediately following the generation 3 peak date will also be effective.

 

The current risk in eastern San Joaquin County is lower than in other southern Counties, but we think a precautionary approach is best. The current mini heat wave will accelerate thrips development slightly and further bump up thrips numbers.

If you are planning to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV this season, you should target the next generation of thrips (generation 3).  If it is not possible to arrange for treatment in time to catch generation 3, target generation 4. Delaying treatment until later in the season will be much less effective at preventing damage from TSWV.  Coordinated spraying across large areas has an additional effect on thrips populations because it makes it difficult for them to avoid treatment by migrating.

Generation 3 adults are projected to peak on May 28th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 3 and delay further population build-up and TSWV spread.

Generation 4 adults are projected to peak on June 22nd.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 4 and delay further population build up and TSWV spread.

 

The current risk in Kings County is high and we are recommending that growers who plan to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV take immediate action. The current mini heat wave will accelerate thrips development slightly and further bump up thrips numbers.

If you are planning to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV this season, you should target the next generation of thrips (generation 3).  If it is not possible to arrange for treatment in time to catch generation 3, target generation 4. Delaying treatment until later in the season will be much less effective at preventing damage from TSWV.  Coordinated spraying across large areas has an additional effect on thrips populations because it makes it difficult for them to avoid treatment by migrating.

Generation 3 adults are projected to peak on May 22nd.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 3 and delay further population build-up and TSWV spread.  This means you need to take immediate action.

Generation 4 adults are projected to peak on June 14th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 4 and delay further population build up and TSWV spread.  Treatment in the 14 days immediately following the generation 3 peak date will also be effective.

 

The current risk in western San Joaquin County is lower than in other southern counties, but we think a precautionary approach is best. The current mini heat wave will accelerate thrips development slightly and further bump up thrips numbers.

If you are planning to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV this season, you should target the next generation of thrips (generation 3).  If it is not possible to arrange for treatment in time to catch generation 3, target generation 4.

Delaying treatment until later in the season will be much less effective at preventing damage from TSWV.  Coordinated spraying across large areas has an additional effect on thrips populations because it makes it difficult for them to avoid treatment by migrating.

Generation 3 adults are projected to peak on May 28th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 3 and delay further population build-up and TSWV spread.

Generation 4 adults are projected to peak on June 22nd.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 4 and delay further population build up and TSWV spread.

 

The web resource for integrated management of Western Flower Thrips and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus in the California Central Valley contains two tools to help in disease risk management:  

A Field Risk Index tool uses simple information about field locations, land use, and agronomy to calculate a risk category for tomato crops.  This tool can be used before planting or early in the season to get a heads up about the general risk to a crop from TSWV.

A thrips population projection model, driven by degree-day accumulation at several Central Valley locations, aids in projecting when thrips generations are hatching, developing, and adult numbers are peaking.  This information is used to issue regular updates and provide broad guidelines for timing insecticide sprays to keep thrips numbers low enough to prevent TSWV from spreading.

The research behind these tools was supported by the California Tomato Research Institute (CTRI)

The model was developed in Collaboration with Dr. Len Coop of Oregon State University’s Integrated Plant Protection Center (IPPC).  The IPPC developed and hosts the USPEST web service which is a multi pest multi model tool that provides information on pest development and disease risk for the Contiguous 48 US states using a network of weather stations.