Among the high number of pests that Spanish crops suffer from, in recent times it stands out the pest of little wasp which attacks the almond trees. The almond seed wasp (Eurytoma amygdali Enderlein) has recently arrived at Spanish crops, mainly at those of Murcia, and has become a real problem for farmers.
The damages that the little wasp is provoking in Spanish almond trees crops worry a lot the authorities, that have decreed the alarm for epidemy in Murcia, Valencia's region and, recently, in the region of Castilla La Mancha. The farmers fear the spreading of anepidemy which could finish with 90% of the harvests.
The little wasp belongs to the hymenoptera species from the Eurytomidae family. It uses the still green almonds as a nest for its eggs in Spring. When it hatches, the larvae feed themselves from the fruit until arriving in July or August to the next stage of development. By then, they will have ruined completely the almond, which will stay in the tree after the harvest, invaded by fungi and with a blackened colour. The larva will complete its development and will advance to the stage of pupa, being born at the end of the following winter.
In advanced stages, it is frequent to see black almonds with the exit holes made by the adult little wasps. The life of this insect out of its nest is very brief. After being born, they mate each other quickly and, in some days, they will have started to lay eggs restarting the process again. This brevity compels the farmers to pay extreme attention to detect when there are adult specimens in the crops, which is the only moment suitable for applying treatments.
The experts recommend us two ways of working to eradicate the almond seed wasps. On one side, to take out from the trees the almonds which show symptoms of having been attacked (dehydrated aspect and brownish colour). It is a laborious job because these
infected fruits do not fall easily. On the other side, it is advisable to resort to specific chemical treatments to finish with the pest.
The tasks of pests control must be carried out with suitable machinery to avoid unnecessary expenses of phytosanitary products and prevent undesired pollutions. To carry out these treatments, we can use precision machines like Teyme's mistblowers.
These machines break the drops of product in tiny fragments, and, with powerful and precise air streams, carry a cloud with the treatment until the last coin of the tree.
However, these products are only effective with adult little wasps. Thus, we must pay great attention to detect the instant when they start coming out of the almonds. This will be the moment to apply the phytosanitary treatments. Notwithstanding to ensure the disappearance of eggs and larvae, we will have to get rid of all the almonds which show symptoms of infection.
The disadvantage is more complex when ecological farmers are concerned, as the available phytosanitary products against the little wasp can not be used in ecological crops.
The solution is again to collect and destroy all the almonds which show symptoms of being affected. Another possibility is to treat with chemical product in the crops required and sell that part of production as conventional almond.
To sum up, the seed almond wasp is a real headache for farmers, both organic and conventional ones. They must be on guard to detect the presence of these parasites which destroy their almonds and, above all, be able to identify when is the best moment to fight them using phytosanitary products with powerful and accurate mistblowers.