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.
A variety of existing commercially available equipment has been tested in the field for removing pistachio mummies from the orchard floor, including sweepers and vacuums. None have been successful, and adaptations are being investigated. A novel x-ray based irradiation system has been developed to determine the dose requirements for sterilizing Navel orangeworm. Sterilization has been demonstrated for adult males. Work to determine the dose requirements for sterilizing larvae inside the mummies is progressing. Specific objectives 1,2, and 3 of the parent project deal with developing techniques to mitigate the effects of insect damage which are correlated with the presence of microbial toxins. Destroying mummies reduces the potential for insect infestation supporting the overall objective of the parent project.