|From In the Garden|
Research came in the form of shelling a large box of pecans sent to us by our sister in law in North Carolina. It seems she has a ton of pecan trees near her home that yield some bea-u-tiful and delicious pecans. So, on a recent cold winter night Mr. Fix-it and I commenced to shelling, and shelling, and shelling. There is still yet a lot of shelling to do but back to the pecan pests.
While shelling the pecans we found some of the nuts were blackened inside. The kernel was not edible at all. I didn't look closely for any pests at this point but one came looking for me. Somehow a little white worm showed itself to us-ick! I knew immediately that this was normal and nothing to be alarmed about, however it still was not pleasant. Unless you are VERY diligent with spraying insecticides you will have some pests in nut trees, fruit trees, vegetables-you name it and they might come calling when you least expect them as in the case of our pecans.
I'm not going to caution you all on the picture below because like me, you are gardeners and used to pests especially if you are hesitant to spray poisons. I am not averse to using insecticides in the right circumstances, but my threshold for a certain amount of damage allows for some pests. Some pests were what I found in the large box of pecans. No problem, I can quickly do away with that issue-and did so by throwing out the affected pecans. The rest of the batch was fine.
At first I thought these little worms were a borer, but upon further research I am pretty sure this pest is a nut weevil. Note the blackened part of the kernel. This is a very common pest and the University of Kentucky website linked in the previous sentence does a great job of describing the pest and its remedies. The website says you can cure the nuts by gathering daily then heat treating them. There are other methods too but for small infestations just tossing the affected nuts is fine.
One thing I want you all to note about this pest is that it overwinters in the ground. The eggs are laid by an insect in the nut while the nut is still on the tree. Once the nut falls to the ground and the grub is more mature it bores a hole through the nut then digs into the soil where it overwinters for one or two years. It will emerge an adult when mature and begin the cycle all over again. It is very important to clean up rubbish and leftover nuts under your nut trees if you wish to reduce this pest population.
I have a hickory tree in my garden and I try to remove those nuts each fall when I rake my yard. I've not had too much of a problem with these weevils but then again I don't try to eat the hickories so I'm really not sure if there are weevils in my nuts or not. On the other hand my neighbor might have some good pecans but the ones that blow into my are not because they are all full of holes from pests....
in the garden....
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In the Garden