Tuesday, May 10, 2011


On January 25, I received a pecan nut, with a hole in it, which a grower had found in his orchard and suspected to be infested with pecan weevil. I opened it, found a moth pupa, put the nut and its contents in a rearing cage, and completely forgot about it. Recently, I found 4 unfamiliar moths in that rearing cage. From the close-up photographs that I sent out, Bill Ree and Mark Muegge determine it to be the navel orangeworm. I mailed all the specimens to Kira Metz, Entomologist Identifier, USDA-APHIS in College Station, for confirmation. The navel orangeworm is a pest of citrus, walnut, almond, pistachio, macadamia, and figs in California, but I have not found a publication that deals with this pest in pecan. Bill Ree suspects that El Paso pecan growers should not be worried about this insect at the moment because the navel orangeworm cannot enter a pecan nut unless there is a crack in the shell. Potentially, this insect could become a stored product pest of pecan. The University of California IPM website mentions that the navel orangeworm does not damage sound walnuts, almonds, or pistachio, but nuts become susceptible when hulls begin to split.

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