26 May 1995

Orange blossom midge warning

SOISSONS growers should check crops from the end of this week for orange blossom midge if warm weather returns.

Together with other early Continental varieties it is approa- ching the susceptible ear emergence stage, and will be singled out by the pest, says Jon Oakley, ADAS entomologist at Reading.

Monitored sites show 3-44% of larvae have pupated. Worcs, Oxon and Hants and areas further west are at highest risk. But hot-spots are likely almost anywhere, says Mr Oakley. Hatching will start at the end of this week. Temperatures need to be above 15C (59F) and wind speeds below 6mph before midges will fly, so sheltered fields are likely targets. Thresholds are one midge every six ears in milling/seed crops and one in three ears for feed.