Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ants Are Out on a Limb in Almond Orchards

Editor’s note: This week’s post is written by guest blogger Kevin Parkinson, almond field scout for the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project.

Most of us know by now that ants can cause significant damage to almond crops once the nuts have been shaken to the ground (see “The Almond Doctor” May 2, 2010). But something that many do not realize is that ants may begin to be a problem at hull split if the lower limbs of the almond tree are touching the ground.

Photos by UC Statewide IPM Program.
 If your limbs are touching the ground at this point in the season or you have a history of ant damage, the best thing you can do is monitor for ants following the guidelines of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management program for ants in almonds and treat if necessary.

Result of ant damage in almonds.
To prevent ants from climbing limbs in future seasons, make sure limbs are pruned high enough off of the ground to prevent them from touching the ground with a full crop of almonds.  Remember: Ants do not climb up the trunks of almond trees.  If you have ants attacking nuts while still in the tree, they are climbing up limbs that are touching the ground.

On a final note, you should know that not all ants are bad.  Many are beneficial.  Check out this guide to help you identify common ants found in almond orchards.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. Ants can sometimes be annoying but I know for sure they help nature keep its balance. - Terminex London