1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The overall objective of the proposal is to reduce Navel Orange Worm (NOW) damage in pistachios and increase the quality of harvested nuts by a combination of changes in cultural and chemical control methods combined with grower education. The objective of the ARS portion is to find new methods of destroying overwintering nuts (mummies) on the ground and to investigate the feasibility of using x-ray based ionizing radiation to sterilize insects inside the mummies.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
A mower type technique which removes the nuts from the orchard floor and grinds them into pulp will be developed. Adaptations of mower techniques that work well for walnuts and almonds will be investigated to overcome the physical differences between those products and pistachios. Methods for separating nuts from dirt and rocks for input into the grinding mechanism will be developed. Laboratory based experiments will be conducted to determine the feasibility of x-ray sterilization of insects inside mummies. If this is successful a working prototype will be developed and tested in the field.
This project has just begun, as the extramural funding for this project was just received with only one month to go in the reporting period. Nevertheless, protocols have been developed for the identification of natural compounds that affect navel orangeworm (NOW) behavior and the design of an orchard sweeper that would remove NOW-infested mummies is underway. Moreover, design of equipment and development of methods for mass irradiation of NOW for sterile insect technique, is also underway.