Orchardist Ian Cathels participated in an APAL Future Orchard monitoring trial looking at earwig control of woolly apple aphid (WAA).
“We observed earwigs numbers were very high in our organic blocks and worked very well controlling WAA. That’s the amazing part. In the first year when we changed to organics, we noticed WAA blowing up in November, and I thought ‘well this is just not going to work’ but two weeks later we noticed all the woolly aphid was gone and ever since then we’ve never had any problems with woolly aphids in the organics” said Ian.
Jeremy Smart, orchardist at Batlow, also participated in the trial.
“We found we had almost no earwig population in our orchard due to the chemicals we used. In the block that we monitored in the trial we completely cut out chemicals that harm earwigs, we seeded the block with earwigs and although they are slow to breed we seem to be getting good WAA control. We are also seeing aphelinus in the block so that was a learning for us – letting the earwigs provide control early in the season while the aphelinus build up their numbers” said Jeremy.
The video below shows Jeremy and Ian talking about their experience in the trial, including creating habitat with poly pipe to provide shelter for earwigs to survive.
The Future Orchards project was funded by Hort Innovation by the apple and pear levy and co-contributions by the Australian government and run by APAL.
The trial was run by Kevin Dodds, NSW DPI, the Front Line Advisor for Batlow in the FO project, as part of the Future Orchards project.