NOW Orangeworm Control
The success of controlling a cotton pest is being explored by the nut industry. Trying to find other ways to reduce navel orangeworm pressure in all nut crops has researchers turning to sterile navel orangeworm moth releases over orchards. This strategy was part of the pink bollworm program in cotton. Along with timely sprays, there was the release of sterile moths that if mated would not produce additional moths. Pink bollworm was declared eradicated in the cotton industry a few years ago.
Now we're at the early stage of navel orangeworm sterile releases. One kink in the program was that the male moths were not thriving once released, but if they put the moths in a paper bag and then put that bag in a tree, allowing the male moths to fly out, well, they did much better that way.
Houston Wilson is a UC Riverside an entomologist working on navel orangeworm sterile releases.
“That's not to say that an operational sterile insect program is going to involve a bunch of paper grocery bags all over the place, but rather that that factor has quite a strong influence on how these moths behave,” Wilson said. “So that was one achievement that we were pretty happy to, you know, to have at least pinned something down and started to see more of these males in our flight traps.”
Wilson said there's a lot more data that they've been generating. “But those studies, like I said, are still in progress, so we'll be able to give more of an update as we get further into the fall and winter period. There's Statewide Pistachio Day in January, we'll probably have enough data compiled by then,” said Wilson.
And that Statewide Pistachio Day is January 22nd in Visalia.