Managing carob moth in almonds (AL12004)
What was it all about?
This project investigated pest distribution, seasonal behaviour, lifecycle, control options and tactics to minimise nut infestation for one of the Australian almond industry’s most significant pests, the carob moth (Ectomyelois ceratoniae).
This pest can cause significant damage to almond kernels and downgrade crop value. The moth breeds in old (mummy) nuts that remain on trees after harvest and lays eggs on new nuts when the hull splits. The emerging larvae cause chewing damage of up to 15 per cent to the almond hulls and kernels.
Almond value relies on good kernel quality and industry tolerance of damage is only one per cent in top grade whole kernels and two per cent in other whole kernels.
Key findings from the research included:
- Carob moths breed in old nuts so orchard sanitation is critical for management
- Producers and processors should work to improve timeliness of operations between hull split and processing, as the risk of damage by carob moth increases with delay
- Insecticide application at hull split reduces the level of kernel damage, but may not be cost-effective in all seasons.
As part of this project, fact sheets were produced describing carob moth, its seasonal behaviour in almond orchards, monitoring guidelines and current management options.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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