**FAQs have been added to this release**
SE NEW MEXICO – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture issued an emergency pecan weevil quarantine effective immediately and for a duration of 180 days for Chaves, Curry, Eddy, and Lea counties. The quarantine is issued as a result of the continued findings of pecan weevil in residential pecan trees in Hobbs, Lovington, Roswell, Clovis, Artesia and in several commercial southeastern New Mexico orchards.
The primary objective of the quarantine is to prevent the spread of pecan weevil by providing restrictions on the export of in-shell pecans grown in those counties. During the 180 days, input from the pecan industry will continue to be accepted by NMDA for possible incorporation into a permanent quarantine.
Although the objective of the quarantine is to prevent the spread of pecan weevil out of known infested counties, New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said work continues to remove pecan weevil from residential and commercial trees. “At this time, we are working with local pest control companies on expanding removal efforts in Artesia, Roswell and Clovis,” said Witte.
Eddy County Agriculture Extension Agent Woods Houghton said he has received numerous inquiries regarding the Pecan Weevil restrictions. Below are some commonly asked questions as well as his answers:
Q: Can I sell my pecans?
A: Yes, anywhere the pecan weevil currently is. Local accumulators can buy them but you cannot take them in the four far west Texas counties, including El Paso by Texas Department of Agriculture Regulations, or any counties that produce pecans west of Eddy and Chaves counties.
Q: Can I still eat or use my pecans.
A. Yes, if it has the pecan weevil in it you will see it and not want to eat it or use it.
A. The current emergency pecan weevil quarantine requires pecan buyers and accumulators to obtain specific information from individuals selling their pecans. The primary reason for this requirement is to help identify pecan weevil infested areas. Eradication has three C’s or principles: 1. Contain – find where they are and keep them from spreading; 2. Control – use integrated pest management to kill off the existing population that are known; and 3. Clean up – find the few that may have survived but monitor to make sure they don’t come back. An indirect consequence of requesting identification is that it may help reduce pecan theft.
Q: Can I send pecans to my relatives?
A. Yes, you can send them out of the shell to anywhere in the US. If you want to send pecans in the shell they can only go East, or North to non-pecan producing States, like Idaho. In-shell pecans cannot go to Arizona, or California or any county to the west of Eddy or Chaves.
Q. How do I treat to prevent them in my yard tree?
A. The adult female weevil is a beetle-like insect that emerges from the ground in early August each year. She crawls or flies up into the tree and drills a hole through the shuck and into the nut, where she lays eggs.
The grubs that hatch afterwards feed on the nut interior. Some escape through a hole they bore in the shell while others remain inside. It’s impossible for a homeowner to spray insecticide over an entire tree but there are some strategies that might help control the weevils.
First, pick up and destroy all damaged nuts each year. You can put them into to plastic bags and in the dumpster, burn them. Do call the extension office or NMDA so we can work on that first C of eradication, contain.
Second, apply in late July a foot-wide band of sticky material like Tanglefoot, it is similar to the fly stick traps, around the trunk six feet above ground. This will catch weevils that crawl up the trunk into the tree. To keep the material from staining the bark, wrap wide masking tape around the trunk before spreading it, if that is of concern.
Third, if you have not been included in a state approved eradication program, homeowners can spray insecticide that contains carbaryl, as high as you can reach in the tree beginning the first week of August and repeating every 10 – 14 days until shucks begin to open. Be sure and read the label of each product to ensure it is legal and used safely.
The best thing you can do this time of year is pickup your pecans, don’t leave them on the ground.
Q: What will the local buyer do with my pecans?
A. They will clean and sort your pecans, then it depends on where they are shipping them for sale. If they are going into existing pecan weevil areas, they are supper sacked by size and grade and shipped. If they are going to the South or West, they are sorted and sacked as above but placed in a sealed semi-trailer; and shipped to a cold storage facility to be stored. Or they can cold treat in a certified facility before shipping.
Q: What if I don’t follow the rules and take my pecan to some other location?
A. Buyer’s in non-weevil areas are also asking for ID and if you are coming from an infested area they will not buy your pecans. They could call NMDA and your pecans may be subject to seizure. But more importantly you may be responsible for spreading this pest to a multi-million-dollar industry.
Q: What if I receive pecans in the shell from East of Eddy County that has pecan weevil.
A. If you know that they are coming ask the person shipping them to freeze them for a week or so before they ship. If you don’t know they are coming and you get a package you can freeze them for a week or so. If you find weevils in pecan shipped to you put them in to two plastic bags and send them to the landfill or burn them. Don’t throw them out for the birds.