By John Wood, Certis USA Regional Manager
Pavement ants are a mere 0.13 inches long and their cousin, the southern fire ant measures between 0.07 and 0.25 inches long. They may be small, but ants can do big damage to your nut crops.
You want consumers eating your nut crops, right? But, if you aren’t careful, these small ants may be the ones enjoying them instead of nut-lovers around the world.
I think the damage done by ants to nut crops ranks right up there among the worst because they actually can hollow-out all the nut meat, leaving you with only the shells of the nut and a shell of your profits.
Right now, those ants are colonizing and building their populations up in your orchards, getting ready to wage war on your nuts the minute they hit the ground.
To fight this ant army, it’s important to first know where they are. Start looking now for ants that are traveling along the drip line in your orchard. According to UC-IPM, ants are more prevalent in drip- or sprinkler-irrigated orchards than flood-irrigated orchards. You may also find them mounding up in your drive row.
If you see ants working in your fields, you or your PCA can start control to those populations immediately using Seduce™ Insect Bait. Starting early to reduce ant populations is the key to substantially reducing the damage to your crops at harvest.
When using Seduce™, it’s advantageous to have plenty of water. Seduce, unlike other baits in the class, performs very well under wet conditions where other oil-based baits can mold or rot and become ineffective. Because the product is highly compressed easy-to-apply granules, they can be effective up to four weeks.
Seduce™ Insect Bait has a 4-hour REI, is residue-exempt, is approved for use in organic production and OMRI-listed.
In addition to bait applications to control populations, remember that removing nuts quickly from the orchard floor during harvest is the best tactic in the war against ants. The amount of damage that ants can do to your crops grows exponentially the longer the nuts sit on the ground unguarded.
Waging the war against ants in your orchards requires vigilance in scouting, early and consistent control and, finally, quick and efficient harvest.
To the victor goes the spoils, or in this case--the nuts.