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Gangs of apple ermine moth larvae are appearing in western orchards. Photo by Carll Goodpasture.
Realizing that over five hundred species of insects have been identified in fruit orchards presents an immediate challenge to our understanding. Beneficial insects help with some aspects of fruit production, but admittedly, the perplexity of curculio and fruit moths often lie beyond the control of natural predators alone.
Gentler spray options in these last 20 years have opened the door on our ability to 'negotiate' a harvest balance with bugs. Orchard architecture also plays an increasing important role in integrated orchard planning: Block shape, choice of variety and tree size on borders, trap tree placement, and surrounding habitat influence insect dynamics to varying degrees.
No problem can be solved from
the same level of consciousness that created it.
Long-called our Achilles’ heel, the plum curculio now has to face our tactical array of Surround kaolin clay, garlic-neem synergy, and promising "curc understory management" techniques.
The Lepidoptera Complex
So many bloody species of moths make it a challenge to stay on top of a rotation of management approaches that often require variable timing. Great research has been done on the University level. . . now it’s time for community orchardists to report about reality in your particular locale.
Apple Maggot Fly
The notorious "railroad worm" -- once the fly larvae infest the apple -- is best controlled by perimeter trapping and picking up all pre-harvest drops every few days. Organic spray options for AMF include Entrust (overlapping moth sprays will do some good here), pure neem oil, and Naturalis used as a soil drench under "trap trees" where AMF pupates in the soil to emerge the following year.
Every fruit grower has worthy contributions to make to these pages. . . so please contact Michael Phillips about your own orcharding research experiences, novel ideas, and success stories.
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