Nuts were sampled from different heights in the canopy just before harvest to determine the within- tree distribution of damage by carpophilus beetle and carob moth. Inset left: The ‘Seed Terminator’ in action. The device is attached to the rear of a standard harvester and pulverises the mummy nuts before scattering the residue back on the orchard floor.
accompanied by a desktop review of biocontrol options. A factsheet providing a visual guide to predatory and parasitic insects observed in Australian almond orchards is in development.
management of a wide range of pests. The Agriculture Victoria team have been screening a number of Australian strains of the EPF, Beauveria bassiana (including a commercially available strain), for its toxicity to adult and larval stages of carpophilus. Results of lab trials have been very encouraging, with over 70 percent mortality of larvae in bioassays using one particular EPF strain. Adult beetle mortality is much lower, but this in itself might be beneficial in helping the spread of the fungal disease. The work is continuing in the form of a PhD commencing this year, and
will include field trials in orchards, stockpiles, and nut burial trials.
More to come in the next edition of In A Nutshell including attract and kill methods and post-harvest research.
Next generation biopesticides
Insect-killing fungi, known as entomopathogenic fungi or EPF, are currently the focus of international research as potential “biopesticide” options to be incorporated into environmentally sustainable