As a result of climate change, California's farms are expected to face a surge in agricultural pests. Populations of three major insect pests – codling moth, peach twig borer and oriental fruit moth — are projected to increase mainly due to rising temperatures.
“These three pests are notorious for infesting most of the walnut, almond and peach orchards of California, causing extensive damages by reducing quality of fruits and nuts,” said Jhalendra Rijal, UC Cooperative Extension integrated pest management advisor and entomologist for Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties.
New research, led by Prakash Jha, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources assistant project scientist based at UC Merced, compared pest populations in recent and future climates. The UC study revealed that due to increases in temperature, these insects are expected to appear up to 28 days earlier in the spring and the time between generations is expected to shorten by up to 19 days. The changes may be gradual, but the study predicts that we may see up to a half-generation of these pests added within the next 20 to 30 years.