Help Almond Crops Thrive Against Pests

November 8, 2017

Almond field

Seasoned pest control adviser Tim Weststeyn knows all too well the damage pests can do to almond crops – and the risk is even higher when temperatures are elevated.

When he steps into an almond grove with high ring nematode pressures, he cannot see the plant-crippling pests, but their presence is impossible to miss. These microscopic pests damage plants by feeding on roots, depriving the plant of much-needed nutrients and water. Nematode damage leaves the plant and previously healthy trees susceptible to a range of threats, including bacterial canker.

“You’ll have dieback in a tree, gumming, oozing, the limbs will suddenly die, buds will fall off the tree, they will look like they got burnt and they pretty much die,” said Weststeyn, with Crop Production Services of Vernalis, California.

According to the University of California, nematode pressures reduce growth and yield, two of the most important things to Weststeyn and the tree nut growers he consults. High temperatures accelerate almond hull split risk, increasing vulnerability to pests and disease.

Nematodes attack almond trees below ground

A Unique Solution

The dangers posed by nematodes and other pests drive many growers to fumigate at planting to reduce infestation. But, as expert PCAs know all too well, fumigation only lasts for so long. Eventually, pest populations begin to creep back up, causing crop destruction.

Movento® insecticide from Bayer can be applied as a foliar spray after crops are established and serves as an integral part of a seasonlong pest management program. Movento insecticide's two-way systemic action provides the management of multiple above- and below-ground pests on almonds, including nematodes.

As growers spray at hull split, adding Movento insecticide into their integrated pest management (IPM) program can provide control of difficult above- and below-ground pests and suppress nematodes.

“We don’t have many post-plant treatments for nematodes that are reliable,” explained Andy Dugo, a PCA from the Escalon branch of Mid Valley Ag Services. “I see Movento as being the only solution we’ve got that looks like it’s going to work.”

Close up of almond crop

PCAs Seeing the Results

After three years of treating established almond trees with Movento insecticide, Weststeyn and Dugo can now walk through their fields and see fuller, healthier, greener trees that provide promise of a bountiful harvest.

Weststeyn saw an abundance of healthy nuts in his growers’ established orchards that were treated with Movento insecticide. Although it is too early to tell exactly how much larger the harvest will be, he expects an improvement from 900 pounds of almonds last year to around 3,000 pounds this year.

Weststeyn and Dugo share company with many PCAs working in the fields who continue to confirm research pointing to Movento insecticide's effectiveness in long-term management of nematode populations. As Movento consistently aids plants as a part of an IPM program to help establish stronger roots, the insecticide has the potential to help growers enjoy a larger, healthier crop.

Learn more at