«October 2021»
Pistachio Orchards and Integrated Pest Management
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Pistachio Orchards and Integrated Pest Management

Pistachio Orchards and Integrated Pest Management

APG growers, in a continuing effort to maintain healthy wildlife habitats while protecting their crops, often employ methods of pest control that are designed by nature. These methods are commonly referred to as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). One such effort is to monitor and increase the owl population in orchards for the purpose of coyote control.

Coyotes can do serious damage to an orchard. Like any dog, they love to chew. When attracted to an orchard brimming with mice, gophers, and other natural prey, they enjoy a little “recreation time” chewing away at expensive drip irrigation lines. By controlling the population of their natural prey, damage from coyotes can be reduced. Rather than resorting to old “baiting” techniques to reduce the prey, our growers use an IPM method—owls.

Owls need a healthy environment to produce healthy chicks. Today’s growers build “owl boxes” in orchards to provide a safe nesting place. Perched atop a high, smooth pole (for good viewing and difficult access for predators), owls can lay multiple clutches of eggs for successive hatchings with a high survival rate. Increasing the population of owls has helped to return a balance between the animals that can damage a crop and their natural predators.

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