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Watch Out for the Pecan Nut Casebearer

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Pecan nut casebearer (PNC) is found throughout our pecan growing region and can be economically devastating to pecan producers. There are two to four generations of PNC per year with a new generation emerging every 40 to 45 days. The first generations are perhaps the most damaging and occur in North Texas and southern Oklahoma during late May or early June. Eggs are deposited on the tips of nuts shortly after pollination. The larvae tunnel into nuts and often destroy all nuts in the cluster. The adult casebearer is a gray-to-almost-black moth about 1/3 inch long. A ridge of dark scales followed by a band of lighter color runs across the forewings. A female lays 50 to 150 eggs during her 5- to 8-day life cycle.

Use Pheromone-baited Traps

The use of pheromone-baited traps can help determine when casebearer moths are in the orchard and assist in knowing when to start scouting the orchard for egg lay and nut entry. These traps and pheromones can be purchased from several different sources. Use three to five traps per 50 acres or less and five traps for orchards larger than 50 acres to monitor moths in the orchards. It is important to set out the traps prior to emergence so the first capture is observed. Begin scouting for eggs seven to 10 days after the first casebearer moths are captured. Nut entry will occur 14 to 20 days after first capture. When scouting, sample 310 nut clusters. If two or more are infested, the population is large enough to damage more than 5 percent of the crop and warrants an insecticide spray.

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Charles Rohla, Ph.D., serves as the manager of pecan systems. He oversees pecan research, consultation and operations. He joined Noble in 2006. He is actively involved with several state and national pecan and agriculture organizations. He has a bachelor’s degree in animal science, a master’s degree in agricultural education and a Ph.D. in crop science from Oklahoma State University. He owns a farm where he produces hay, pecans, show horses, cattle and pigs. He can be found on LinkedIn.