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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

New Areawide Pest Management Project for Navel Orangeworm in Almonds, Pistachios and Walnuts

Navel orangeworm on mummy almond

The USDA Agricultural Research Service has awarded funding for a five year Areawide Pest Management Project for control of navel orangeworm in almonds, pistachios and walnuts.  Navel orangeworm is a critical pest of these three crops, which cover more than 1.1 million acres and yield an annual farm gate value of more than $3 billion.  Damage by navel orangeworm may also decrease quality, reducing the competitiveness of these products in the export market, valued at over $1.5 billion.

This areawide effort will implement an integrated pest management program in the Central Valley for this critical pest.  The technologies to be demonstrated will include enhanced sanitation in almonds and pistachios, mating disruption in almonds and walnuts, and the integration of selective pesticides and/or biological agents.  The impact of these strategies on beneficial insects, secondary pests, and nut quality will be determined.  Emphasis will be placed on predicting insect damage using grower data and new methods will be evaluated to estimate pest density.

Navel orangeworm larva in pistachio

This project is a cooperative effort between researchers at the USDA San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center, University of California, UC Cooperative Extension and Paramount Farming Company.  The Almond Board of California, Administrative Committee for Pistachios, and Walnut Marketing Board are active participants and will assist in planning, provide technical oversight, and support subsidiary research targeting navel orangeworm.

The USDA-ARS is the lead agency with Joel P. Siegel, San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center, Commodity Protection and Quality Unit, coordinating the project.  Two other scientists from this unit, Chuck Burks and L.P.S. “Bas” Kuenen will participate.  Participants from the University of California are Kent Daane, Steve Welter, Themis Michailides and Frank Zalom.  Participants from UC Cooperative Extension are Bob Beede, Karen Klonsky, and Carolyn Pickel.  Bradley Higbee, Paramount Farming Company, will oversee the navel orangeworm projects in Kern County.

 Pistachio harvest


Last Modified: 2/24/2014