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In the Pecan Orchard: June 2012

What’s Happening on the Pecan Farm

  • Mowing
  • Irrigating
  • Monitoring the trees

Natural Pest Control

Starting in April, we noticed an increasing population of ladybugs in the pecan orchard. As a result, there are virtually no aphids. If you have your own garden or orchard, it would be good to familiarize yourself with ladybug larvae and other beneficial insects. If you see any of these, don’t panic.

Since ladybugs eat aphids and other soft-bodied insects, they can be a natural form of pest control. Some people even buy ladybugs and release them in their environment at home as a way to naturally control aphids.

Lacewings can also be helpful. A lacewing is a green bug with clear wings. A characteristic you might look for is the lacewing eggs: a stalk with a glob on the end (click here to see images). We expect a huge influx of lacewings in our orchard soon.

Why Are Aphids a Problem?

Aphids puncture the leaf tissue and suck out the sap. Not only are they depriving the tree of moisture and all the nutrients that flow with it, they’re also creating a sticky substance on the leaves, called honeydew, which allows sooty mold. That’s bad. Aphids don’t just target pecan leaves, so keep an eye on your other plants, too.

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