Suterra is encouraging growers in California to leave their Puffers up in orchards over the 2021-2022 winter. In addition to saving time and money for growers, overwintering Puffers will provide added protection against the final flights of relevant pests after harvest has been completed.
California growers have likely noticed the higher temperatures in fall and early winter in recent years. Higher temperatures can affect the pest pressure growers encounter due to additional generations and flights that last later into fall and early winter. Insects are exotherms, meaning that their development and behaviors are regulated by the temperature of their environment.
As a result, many pests can develop more rapidly during periods of warmer temperatures. Growers and PCAs have likely encountered this concept in the form of degree-days, which combine temperature and time into a single metric that can help predict insect development. Warmer years will accumulate more degree days, which means that growers may observe earlier onset of spring activity, possibly more generations and flights per year, and prolonged pest activity post-harvest into fall and winter.
Keeping Puffers up post-harvest allows growers extra insurance against the later flights of insects. Even after crops have been harvested, growers can benefit long-term from keeping mating disruption up against these later flights, as pest developmental and overwintering resources persist (for example, mummy nuts in almonds and pistachios). These are known to contribute to higher pest pressure the following year.
Leaving Puffers in orchards over the winter and swapping out once each spring when hanging the next year’s Puffers serves multiple benefits for California growers by providing additional crop protection and reducing labor requirements. If you have questions about the Puffer, contact your local representative or use the online portal to send a message.