Virginian apple grower experience of BMSB
Last week KVH travelled to the Hawkes Bay to join a workshop hosted by New Zealand Apples & Pears which focused on mid to long-term management of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).
Bill Mackintosh, who was also a speaker at the Apples & Pears annual conference this year, set the scene sharing first-hand experience of the damage, control and secondary pest problems associated with BMSB in his home region of West Virginia.
Bill grows apples, pears and peaches and commented that trapping and control methods are continually improving, with growers benefiting from United States Department of Agriculture research into control methods.
Most growers now reduce damage through application of border sprays four to five times a year, although in years where BMSB levels are high, growers may still repeatedly spray whole orchards. Residue profiles for fruit sprayed to protect against BMSB are a real challenge as treated fruit loses access to premium markets (which demand residue free fruit). The rise in pests previously controlled through well-developed integrated fruit production programmes has also impacted grower returns and viability. Populations of western flower thrips, woolly aphids and St Jose scale, have all bounced back since pyrethroids have been applied.
Bill emphasised the importance of early detection and prompted all growers and field staff to be on constant watch for all life stages of BMSB, and to pay close attention to any unusual crop damage. He recalls poor storage quality was reported for local apple crops in the years leading up to the 2010 BMSB population explosion, and in hindsight believes that internal damage, diagnosed then as calcium deficiency, may well have been early sightings of BMSB damage. Small droplets on the skin of developing fruit, with no apparent cause were also a clue sometimes picked up by the keen eye.