Monday, May 13, 2013

Nothing Cliché about Judging the Almond Pest Threat

Oftentimes old sayings seem trite – like “All’s well that ends well” or “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

On occasion, though, one fits perfectly. Take “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Then take a good look at this almond:

Gumming coming out of this almond looks like tree sap.
Judging by the cover (in this case the green outer shell), the gumming on this nut could be could be a sign of leaffooted bug damage. Here’s what UC Integrated Pest Management says:  “Feeding by adult leaffooted bugs on young nuts before the shell hardens … may cause the nut to gum internally, resulting in a bump or gumming on the shell.”

Leaffooted bug damage inside an almond.
Around the Kerman area west of Fresno, growers have seen similar gumming on outside of the young nuts. But uncover the inside and there aren’t signs of damage by leaffooted bugs.

What’s the story? In checking with almond expert Walt Bentley, UC IPM emeritus, the sapping is probably due to wide temperature variations with high temperatures in the 90s and nighttime lows in the 50s. That can cause the oozing. So you can’t judge a nut by its cover. Feel free to check in with our  almond scout Jenna Horine if you have questions about your nuts. She can put you in contact with Walt Bentley if it likes like there is a problem.
Here's close-up of the leaffooted bug.

Almond growers are happy that the gusty winds we’ve been having finally died down. Many have been holding off treatments so they don’t have to worry about spray drift.

In the cotton fields, the young plants are in the three to fifth node. The crop looks good with no pest threats at this time. But growers still need to monitor for spider mites and thrips.

Alfalfa growers should start planning to leave strip cuts.

This week, alfalfa growers should be in the second harvest of the season. Aphid counts are low. That’s good. Soon, we’ll be reminding growers about strip cutting to provide a habitat for pests and keep them out of neighboring cotton fields. That’s our Good Neighbor policy.

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