This is a year to put in the books as one we don’t want again especially for pecan growers. Not only has it been dry but the crop is so light that many growers won’t have a harvest. The only good part is that the trees don’t have much crop to cause even more damage than the drought is causing. Having said all that if you have pecans and if you got some of this good rain then you can be assured that the pecan weevil is going to be around eating all it can.
The pecan weevil is a peculiar insect because it lives in the ground for at least two years before it emerges as an adult. This adult can fly but prefers to walk up the tree from the ground and begins finding nuts. The weevil has a long snout that it uses to puncture the pecan and either feed or lay an egg in the hole. This egg hatches out and the red-head or larva feeds inside the nut before boring a hole in the shell and dropping to the ground. The hole you see in so many pecans is the result of the weevil leaving the pecan. The female weevil can feed in a pecan in the water stage but she cannot lay an egg in the pecan until the nut has the gel like substance inside. We are have gone from the water stage to the gel stage and some of the early varieties are already in the dough stage. The water stage is very easy to tell, just cut open a pecan and if water comes out then you know what stage you are in!
Several things have to be together in order for the weevil to be a problem. First the soil has to be loose enough for the adult pecan weevil to leave the ground. Second be sure and check the pecans to make sure they are in the right stage of development. Third, if the ground is loose and the pecans are right then make sure you have the pecan weevil. Put out a white cloth under some limbs and then shake the limbs to knock out the weevils. Look for them on the sheet, if you find some then it is time to spray.
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- Bob Whitney
- As an Agriculture Extension Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension Service I have had an opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of agriculture. From the 5,000 cow dairy to the types of trees to use in a home landscape I have had a chance to learn how the different parts of an agriculture systems work together. Seedless watermelons, drip irrigation, pecan orchard management, fruit crop development, dairy nutrient management, environmental issues confronting agriculture, producer tours, field days, research projects and more have been a part of my life for over 30 years as I lived and breathed agriculture. Since 2004 I have been actively involved in consulting internationally working in Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, and China. I have worked with missionaries and other groups dedicated to alleviating poverty among third world farmers. I lived in the Middle East in 2007-2008 working on a project for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. In this project I was the Chief of Party and Team Leader for a $5.7 Million dollar effort to train Iraqi Extension agents and specialists in all aspects of agriculture.