Understanding and managing insects on pistachio orchards (PS16000)
What was it all about?
From 2017 to 2019, this project increased knowledge about pest and beneficial species of insects and mites in Australian pistachio orchards. It looked at pests that currently pose a risk to pistachio production, or that have the potential to move into orchards.
While the project team found the pest status of surveyed pistachio orchards to be very low (and, in fact, the insects with the highest numbers seen were beneficials), they identified key pests of interest as being Carpophilus beetle, carob moth, light brown apple moth, and small bugs and weevils.
Based on their work, the researchers reported the below as being focus areas for industry:
- Maintaining and improving orchard hygiene. The project highlighted the role good orchard hygiene plays in maintaining low pest pressure, with an area for improvement relating to mummy nuts and their potential to shelter pests over winter. Working together with the Hort Innovation Almond Fund project An integrated pest management program for the Australian almond industry (AL16009), the researchers found the presence of Carpophilus beetle, carob moth and Florida pink scavenger moth in mummies left on the orchard floor. Improving orchard hygiene post-harvest could help mitigate this potential threat and break the cycle of pest development.
- Managing native vegetation around orchards. A wide range of beneficials insects and spiders were found in native vegetation around commercial orchards. While further work is needed to identify the best plant species to incorporate into the orchard system, thinking about beneficials is important.
- Considering the pest-predator balance found in each orchard. While pistachios are a relatively low-input crop, the use of fungicides and weed controls are just two activities that can directly or indirectly impact on the good balance currently found between pests and predators. These activities should be more closely considered as they pertain to integrated pest management in the orchard.
This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Pistachio Fund.