Each year there’s a chance for fire ant populations to infest almond orchards. Once an infestation begins, the quality and yield of a grower’s almond crop may be compromised.
“After the queen establishes a new nest in the early spring, the larvae of fire ants develop into adults in about one month. This happens in about two to three months for pavement ants,” said Leigh Ann Harrison, BASF Technical Service Representative in the San Joaquin Valley. “This development happens underground, so growers won’t actually see the ants until they emerge when soil temperatures warm up. They need to have a plan they can quickly put in place to manage fire ants should ant populations arise.”
If the almond crop isn’t protected while it’s on the ground, growers may see an impact on the overall quality of their crop at harvest. Ant feeding can cause damage to the almond nut, downgrading the quality of what would have been considered premium nuts, which are then sold at a lower price point. Alternatively, damaged nuts may not able to be able to be sold at all, impacting overall yield.
Protection before harvest time
If ant populations remain as harvest time approaches, growers need to act quickly. However, there’s work that can be done before any issues arise to help control ant populations.
“Effective management of fire ants starts with growers managing throughout the season with ant bait insecticides,” said Harrison. “If populations are left unchecked and continue to build, they become harder to control year after year.”
Even if growers implement management practices throughout the season to deter ant populations from forming, issues may still arise as the season progresses. If ant populations spike later in the growing season, growers need a solution that works fast to control ants.
“We recommend almond growers use Altrevin® fire ant bait insecticide about two weeks before harvest,” said Harrison. “Altrevin is fast-acting and has a short pre-harvest interval that allows for an application just before harvest to help protect a grower’s almond crop.”
It’s difficult to predict the fire ant pressure a grower’s almond orchard may face in any given year. With this in mind it’s important for growers to have a plan in place to control fire ants should these populations infest an orchard. Having a plan and making timely applications of a fire ant bait insecticide help to preserve the quality and yield of a grower’s almond crop.
Always read and follow label directions.
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About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2018, our division generated sales of €6.2 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 122,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of around €63 billion in 2018. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com.