Pecan farmers in New Mexico worry weevils could impact harvest

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Many People will look to have a pecan pie as a part of their Christmas feast, however farmers who develop the nut in New Mexico are frightened a small bug may impression their harvest.

The state’s Division of Agriculture is presently attempting to guard it’s $215 million a 12 months trade, by stopping the unfold of little critters that eat pecans as they’re rising, known as weevils. 

“The pecan weevil might be thought-about one of the vital devastating or one of the vital damaging to pecans,” mentioned Phillip Arnold, President of the New Mexico Pecan Growers Affiliation. 

The Division of Agriculture positioned a quarantine on pecans coming from the japanese New Mexico counties of Curry, Eddy, Chaves and Lea, till Could 20, 2018. 

It’s an particularly dangerous time for pecan farmers, as a result of it is the center of their yearly harvest. The unfold of weevils might have crippling monetary implications. Farmers are particularly attempting to forestall weevils from spreading into Dona Ana County, which Arnold estimates will produce 90 to 100 million kilos of pecans this 12 months. 

“The Mesilla Valley right here is likely one of the largest manufacturing areas within the continent, and for that matter on the planet,” mentioned Arnold. “To deliver that kind of pest in right here could possibly be devastating to the trade.” 

The larval weevils are a small, white, waxy worm-like creature. The adults have a snout and 6 legs. They use their snout to enter pecans in the course of the rising season, and eat the growing nut. 

Pecans with weevils might be fumigated. However in accordance with Arnold, fumigation or pesticides don’t all the time kill each weevil, and the survivors can begin spreading once more. 

The confirmed technique for eliminating weevils is freezing them. Pecans with weevils are put into chilly storage at zero levels. So long as the pecans stay at zero levels for 96 hours, all of the weevils might be lifeless. 

“It’s the kind of insect you may try to management and eradicate in the event you do it correctly,” mentioned Arnold. 

Arnold mentioned the weevils gained’t journey very far so long as they’ve a meals supply. Weevils unfold when infested pecans, soil, or gear is shipped with weevils inside. 

“I’m not going to say that it’s not one thing it’s a slam dunk that we’re going to have the ability to do away with if it exhibits up,” mentioned Arnold. 

Arnold mentioned the Division of Agriculture and the Pecan growers have been intently monitoring for weevils for the reason that 1990’s. They comply with a set quarantine system if weevils are present in native orchards. His greatest concern is individuals bringing infested pecans into Dona Ana County from Texas and different areas, hoping to get a greater value.

“Numerous occasions individuals don’t imply to do something unhealthy, they simply don’t know any higher,” mentioned Arnold. 

Ray Bogan is a Fox Information multimedia reporter based mostly in El Paso, Texas. Comply with him on twitter: @RayBogan

 

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