By John Wood, Certis USA Regional Manager
The good thing about many of the pests that affect your crops is that they don’t show up in the dark and destroy overnight. Usually, you can see signs of them coming in time to head off the worst damage. The bad news—you need to be vigilant about scouting in order to maintain effective control.
Right now is the time to ramp up this scouting. Even if you have a PCA, there is no substitute for personally taking a good, hard look at what’s going on in your orchards.
To maximize efficiency during scouting, be sure to bring along your camera or smartphone. With that you can document damage or evidence of pests so you can easily compare over time. IPM software and apps on the market can be extremely useful in tracking and managing your overall program, and most can be accessed from your smartphone or tablet.
When you are scouting now, I recommend that you focus on signs of earwig infestation. Tree nut crops and even trees like olive trees are susceptible to earwigs, especially if you’ve had a historical issue with them.
For signs of earwigs, look for leaf damage, either skeletonizing or signs of external feeding on new shoots and young leaves. These pests feed at night, so leaf damage is the best way to know they are there, unless you see them by the base of your trunks or in the cracks of the soil.
Left unchecked, earwigs can cause death in trees younger than three years, but at the very least, they will impact growth and cause yield losses.
If you see signs of earwigs, don’t panic. Probably, if you’re scouting correctly, you’ve caught them in time. A single application of Seduce™ Insect Bait can control earwigs for 30 to 60 days. Seduce™ Insect Bait is simple to apply in the cartons and wraps of young trees, has a 4-hour REI, is residue-exempt and is NOP-approved and OMRI-listed.
The best time to apply Seduce™ is when the population is beginning. It’s easier to control immatures than adults, so scout and start control early to effectively rid these pests.
While you are scouting for earwigs, keep in mind that growers in the San Joaquin Valley are starting to see populations of mites. When that happens, leaffooted plant bugs and hoppers cannot be far behind.
If you see early evidence of any of these pests, Certis’ new BoteGHA® is a great rotational product to add to your pest management plan to help maximize control. The good thing about incorporating BoteGHA® into your program is that it is non-disruptive and not harmful to beneficials. BoteGHA® is NOP-approved and OMRI-listed and it can be rotated or tank-mixed with many conventional insecticide or fungicide products. Always read and follow label instructions when using these products alone or in tank mix with other pest control products.
In addition, look at the young, shallow roots of your trees for evidence that you may have June beetle grub larvae. To control those, you can chemigate BoteGHA® as an effective control measure through your irrigation water.