Effect of total freeze out on pest pressures next year???

denninmi(8a)May 29, 2012

The other thread about pest populations has me wondering what effect a total freeze out of almost all fruiting crops will have on pest populations of P.C., apple maggot, and coddling moth next year. We don't even have crabapples on almost all trees this year.

I would hope that this would cause a big crash for next year. On the flip side, I'm also afraid that many fruit-eating songbirds will suffer particularly in the fall and winter from lack of crabapple and mt. ash fruit.

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franktank232(z5 WI)

You would think they would plummet if they have no where to lay eggs. I'd hazard a guess that next year should be a light year around you for PC.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:35PM
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I experienced this last year, but more due to winter cold... Codling moth was pretty bad summer 2010 for me, but the freak arctic cold in February of 2011, plus some late spring frosts meant not a single moth found in my monitoring traps last spring. Same will hopefully be true this year to some extent due to what you're talking about (no apple crop last year).

As for the birds, I doubt fall food sources affect breeding success the following spring, since breeding birds feed on insects. I also have a hard time imagining bird populations really suffering from a crop failure of a few related species. Most likely the birds will just switch to other species or winter in other areas.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 10:14AM
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I do not see a whole lot of mountain ash around here. Crabapples, yes, but even more aronia and russian olive, and both those crops are OK. Wild grapes and mulberries are OK. I think the birds will not suffer. There are opportunities in a year like this, if one actively suppresses the population of, say, CM, on top of the lack of food, one may even get a longer than one year effect. Perhaps even establish bird houses around the orchard, providing suet when there is snow on the ground, to keep the numbers down.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 11:08AM
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I haven't looked at wild grapes to see how they fared, probably OK since most grow in the canopies of trees and were somewhat protected. I don't know about wild mulberries growing along roadsides, either, but my trees out in the open were completely zapped, no fruit at all this year.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 12:00PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

At face value, you'd think if there was no fruit one year, it would interrupt fruit pests' life cycles.

Unfortunately I don't think this is the case. I recall there was a lot of similar discussion in fruit circles immediately after the 2007 freeze in the Midwest and Southeast.

It was hoped that since pests had nothing to eat and no medium upon which to reproduce, there would be a significant decrease in pest pressure the following year, but it didn't pan out that way for me, or others I talked with.

I suppose the reason is that fruit pests are so darn effective at what they do. PC females lay on the upwards of 100 eggs. They lay one egg and generally move to the next fruit.

OFM can lay up to 300 eggs.

It doesn't take very many of these insects to ruin a lot of fruit.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 12:04AM
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No sign of the bugs yet, after the total wipeout. This was the thirty below freeze, not a mere frosting of the blossoms. That may make a difference.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:50AM
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I'm thinking more for my veg garden. Maybe bugs came out early had no food and moved on. My first observation is my broccoli. I have'nt had to spray for the green catterpillars that the white moth lays on my leaves. Maybe a good sign to come. last year I was over run by cuke beetles.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:44AM
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