Farm Focus: Pheromone Disruption

Pheromone Dispenser

Pheromone Dispenser

Let’s talk about the birds and the bees...and the insects. It's spring and it's mating season for two major pests of the orchard, the peach twig borer (PTB) and the oriental fruit moth (OFM). If left unchecked, the pests will cause significant dam- age to the fruit. Larvae hatch and usually enter the fruit from their stems. They then bore all the way into the pit of the fruit, on which they feed. Of course, this is a scenario we want to avoid!

Luckily, there is a very effective and chemical free method for controlling them organically - pheromone disruption. In March our crew hangs a pheromone dispenser on every two out of three trees throughout the orchard, so spring isn't the only thing in the air this time of year. Once hung, the dispensers release and flood female pheromones through- out the orchard. With so much pheromone in the air, the male moths cannot find a female and mating is disrupted.

The oriental fruit moth has 5 flights or generations in any given year. After years of monitoring pests in our orchard, we know when the moths start flying and set out our dispensers accordingly. The dispensers typically release the pheromone for 90-120 days in order to disrupt mating throughout the moth flight season, which in Brentwood begins in March. We've been using this technique for 25 years with great success.

Here's to another delicious season of organically grown stone fruit!