Location: Fruit and Tree Nut ResearchTitle: Organic Approaches to Pecan Pest Management: Aphids and Lepidopterans (caterpillars & moths)
Submitted to: Pecan South
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2021
Publication Date: 5/1/2021
Citation: Shapiro Ilan, D.I. 2021. Organic Approaches to Pecan Pest Management: Aphids and Lepidopterans (caterpillars & moths). Pecan South. 54(30)/22-29.
Technical Abstract: The pecan aphid complext and several lepidopteran insects are major pests of pecan. The pecan aphid complex consists of three species: the black pecan aphid, Melanocallis caryaefoliae, the blackmargined aphid, Monellia caryella, and the yellow pecan aphid, Monelliopsis pecanis. Black pecan aphid is considered the most economically important among the aphid species.. Some of the important lepidopteran pests include hickory shuckworm (Cydia caryana), pecan nut casebearer (Acrobasis nuxvorella), walnut caterpillar (Datana integerrima), and fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea). Primarily, the insects are controlled by chemical insecticides. However, due to environmental and regulatory concerns, alternative methods are attractive. In this article non-chemical (organic ) methods of control are described for these pests. Pecan aphids benefit greatly from conservation of natural enemies (lady beetles, lacewings, etc.) in the orchard. Research has been conducted to enhance natural enemies via attractants or cover crops with varying results. Applications of gibberellic acid lead to reductions in black pecan aphid populations. Grandevo® (based on Chromobacterium subtsugae) also contributes to reductions in black pecan aphid populations and conserves natural enemies. Entomopathogenic (insect-killing) fungi applied as a spray or incorporated as an endophyte show promise for aphid control. Lepidopterans such as pecan nut casebearer and hickory shuckworm can be controlled with Bt or spinosad products. These tactics described above offer feasible approaches to organic pest management in pecan, yet additional research is needed to expand and discover new methodologies as well.