The Navel Orangeworm (NOW) is a primary pest of California almonds, walnuts and pistachios and can be found in both agricultural and non-agricultural hosts. The tree nut industry in California alone covers more than 2.5 million acres, providing significant area for expansion.
NOW moths often lay their eggs on nuts that remain on the tree after harvest, laying over through the winter, until the spring when the newly hatched larvae feed on nutmeats, impacting the amount and quality of marketable nuts harvested.
There are a number of methods for controlling NOW, including timely harvest, orchard sanitation, monitoring of flights, timely use of spray and more recently, mating disruption pheromones. Mating disruption (MD) interferes with the natural process that male NOW moths use to find mates by flooding an orchard with female pheromones that make it more difficult for males to find females, mate, and lay eggs.
Research has shown that when using MD in orchards as small as 40 acres, growers can reduce NOW damage by 35-53%, however when implemented in orchards greater than 40 acres, the reduction can be as high as 78%. Unfortunately, adoption of MD technology amongst smaller growers has lagged due to limited benefits.
To address this problem, the Almond Board of California (ABC) pursued a grant through the Department of Pesticide Regulations to encourage small growers to voluntarily work together to create larger blocks of orchards, across a variety of tree nut crops, to manage NOW.
Working together with Land IQ, Blue Diamond Growers, and UC Cooperative Extension, ABC has developed an online web mapping application that allows Pest Control Advisors and growers to identify their orchards and indicate whether or not they already implement MD or have an interest in participating in a neighborhood management program.
The first pilot area for this new program was launched in an area west of Modesto, in Stanislaus County. After testing in this initial area, the tool has been rolled out statewide and is available for any pistachio, walnut, or almond grower to submit their interest in participation. In areas where interest among growers reaches 40 contiguous acres, participants will be notified that there is a match with neighbors.
Website: https://agneighbors.com Passcode: nowmd
This project was funded by the Department of Pesticide Regulation. The contents may not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the State of California.