Greetings, We captured one oriental fruit moth (OFM) in each of two traps here at the Winchester AREC on Sunday night and one in the third trap on Monday night (i.e. OFM flight in this area has begun, although at a trickle). As we have discussed before, biofix is determined when sustained flight and captures of moths over several consecutive days has occurred. Setting biofix for OFM is usually a bit of a judgement call, because captures tend start and stop repeatedly based on daily weather variations at this time of the season. The weather forecast for Winchester shows a maximum temperature of 59 F or lower through Friday, and I wouldn’t be surprised if few or no additional moths are captured until the weekend. In central Virginia, a grower reported that he caught a total of 4 OFM between Mar 27 and 29, and is calling biofix for Mar 27. The weather in central Virginia is due to warm more quickly than Winchester, and daily temperatures there at 63 F or higher starting on Thursday will likely result in more sustained OFM flight. So, the take-home message is that if you are in central Virginia and have OFM sprayable pheromone in your plan for first generation control, application in the coming days would be good. If you are in the region including Winchester, it’s a bit premature to apply OFM sprayable pheromone, but I will keep you posted regarding our captures here.
Greetings, In view of the fact that we can’t hold in-person Extension meetings until further notice, we’d like to add a new feature to our programming to fill that gap as best we can. Starting this Tuesday, March 31, we will hold meetings each Tuesday from 12 – 1 PM via the Zoom video-conferencing software. Dr. Sherif, myself, and perhaps Drs. Yoder and Pfeiffer (as available) will provide seasonal updates, take questions, and facilitate conversation among you. Zoom has become a widely adopted way to hold video-conferences and is quite easy to use after you’ve done it once or twice. You can participate via your PC or laptop, using the link provided at the bottom of this post, or you can call in using the telephone number provided. Many laptops have a built-in camera, enabling you to see us and vice versa. Some, but not all PCs also have a camera, but others (like mine) have a camera installed as a separate device. While a camera is nice, it is not necessary. Most importantly, your PC or laptop computer should have a built-in microphone to enable conversation among us, which most do. If not, as I mentioned before, you can call in via phone. Zoom is a free download, so if you wish to join these meetings using your computer, it would be good to install that in advance. Otherwise, you will be prompted to do so when you click the “Join” link at the end of this message. Our IT person here has provided guidance (below) to help facilitate this for you. The advantage of joining via computer is that you will be able to see anything that we share on the screen, including Powerpoint slides, pictures, etc. We hope this will be a useful tool that will enable us to work together as this season progresses and that you will join us for some or all of these. There will undoubtedly be a learning curve as we make this happen, but learning new tools is never a bad thing. Again, at the bottom of this post is the link for joining this first meeting. I will also ask your Extension agents to distribute the invitation by e-mail. Stay tuned.
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Greetings, I hope this finds everyone safe and sane during these troubled and uncertain times. As you know, we have had to suspend our in-person Extension programming until further notice, so will try to provide relevant content via posts like this. We have had pheromone traps for oriental fruit moth (OFM) deployed in our orchards here at the Winchester AREC for 1 week, but no captures yet, despite full bloom of Redhaven peaches on March 23. This got me wondering about how OFM biofix (the onset of sustained flight and captures in the Spring) has related to full bloom in peaches over the years. In general, they tend to occur reasonably close together, but I’m interested in the question, “how close together”? The reason this is relevant is that one strong option for managing first generation OFM in peaches is mating disruption, whether by the sprayable pheromone or hand-placed dispensers (both of which can be applied during peach bloom). I compared the dates of OFM biofix and full bloom of Redhaven peaches at this AREC over 17 years spanning 2001 – 2019, looking at whether biofix occurred before, during, or after full bloom. Turns out that the average difference in days between those two events was zero. On other words, the average OFM biofix date occurred on the recorded date of Redhaven full bloom. Having said that, the range was from -11 days (i.e. biofix before full bloom) to +12 days (i.e. biofix after full bloom). Of the 10 years between 2001 and 2010, there were 4 years when biofix occurred before full bloom, 4 years when biofix and full bloom occurred on the same date, and only 2 years when biofix occurred after full bloom. Interestingly, in the 8 years between 2011 and 2020 (no bloom data for 2017 and 2018), there has been only 1 year when biofix occurred before full bloom, 1 year when they occurred on the same date, and 6 years when biofix occurred after full bloom (including this year). This makes me wonder whether the generally milder winters we have experienced in recent times have had a greater effect on tree development rate than OFM development rate, but of course that is pure speculation. Anyway, the take-home message is that mating disruption for OFM is not yet required here in the northern Virginia region. Of course tree and pest development typically happen more quickly in central and southern Virginia than they do here in Winchester. Pheromone traps provide a very sensitive indication of the beginning of OFM flight (and also of other key pests, like codling moth) and can guide your timing of mating disruption applications. I will keep you posted about our OFM captures, which would not be expected until the weather warms considerably compared with today. We will put our codling moth traps our in March and also keep you posted about captures in those.
Until next time, best wishes.