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Navel orangeworm pressure was lighter in 2020

Todd Fitchette Almond mummies on a tree
An almond tree blooming in early 2020 still shows the previous season’s “mummy” nuts, which industry leaders warn could be a haven for Navel orangeworms.
Winter sanitation is the cornerstone of good NOW control, University of California experts say.

Reports suggest the Navel orangeworm pressure in almonds was lighter this year, but now is not the time to let up on control efforts.

Donny Hicks, field representative with Hughson Nut Co., said reject levels were under 1% in his blocks, with similar reports among growers he works with.

On the other side of that positive coin are all the unharvested nuts Hicks says have Navel orangeworm (NOW) larvae in them.

Tree nut growers need to focus their dormant season attention on ridding trees of mummies (unharvested nuts that remained behind).

These nuts should be shaken or knocked off the trees manually, then destroyed by sweeping and blowing them into the center of orchards to be destroyed.

University of California tree nut experts say the cornerstone of good NOW control is winter sanitation. Ridding orchards of opportunities for NOW moths to overwinter and repopulate orchards in the spring is the first and most important step to control.

Other efforts such as mating disruption and chemical treatments can follow, but without good orchard sanitation, growers will fight an uphill battle with control, even through multiple insecticide treatments.

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