If you’ve ever attempted to grow pecans, you’re likely well aware of the patience required. Over the past few years, growers’ job has required even more patience, however, thanks to an annoying pest. The pecan weevil has been disrupting pecan crops and harvests throughout the country. Although the pecan weevil has not yet dramatically affected Louisiana pecans, precautions should still be taken to protect your harvest.
What Is The Pecan Weevil?
The pecan weevil is the biggest threat to pecan harvests. The insects are similar to beetles. They typically emerge from the ground in August and can ravage pecan crops right up until the time of harvest. Female pecan weevils drill through pecan shucks and lay their eggs inside the nut. The life-cycle of the eggs is only a few days, after which, the new weevils hatch and begin feeding on the nut.
The pecan will then drop to the ground, having been ravaged by the weevil. At this point, the pecan is unable to be harvested. It’s recommended that you pick up and remove damaged pecan nuts as soon as you notice them on the ground.
There are pesticides available that will prevent weevils from infesting your pecan trees. The pesticides are safe for applications on pecan trees. If you’ve experienced pecan weevils at any point over the past three years, you should treat your crop with pesticides. A trained pest control management company in your area should be able to provide more information.
Pecan Weevil Ravaging New Mexico
New Mexico has been hit hardest by the pecan weevil. Recently, the state instituted an emergency six-month quarantine in four counties in an attempt to eliminate the pest. Those counties have seen pecan weevils destroy both residential and commercial pecan crops.
Not only does the quarantine involve pesticides to kill the weevil, but it also involves more intense regulations for any pecans exported out of the area. If pecans are shipped out of the quarantined counties, they must be accompanied by a proof of treatment. Pecan weevils rapidly spread when being shipped.
In fact, Texas has also been dealing with pecan weevil infestations. Bill Ree, Pest Management Specialist at Texas A&M, explained, “This is not a new pest, but what is new is that it’s being sighted in areas where it’s never been found.” Ree is concerned about how rapidly weevil infestations are spreading.
New Mexico’s number one cash crop is the pecan, and the state is home to over 2,000 farms. Phillip Arnold, President of the New Mexico Pecan Growers Association, said, “Western pecan growers consider pecan weevil the most significant pest of pecans. Pecan weevil establishment in commercial pecan orchards results in increased production costs, crop loss, reductions in nut quality, and increased use of insecticides.”