Department of Agriculture research shows climate change may increase the insect population that poses a threat to the specialty crops industry.
Led by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the University of California, the research shows populations of three major insect pests – codling moth, peach twig borer and oriental fruit moth — are projected to increase mainly due to rising temperatures. The 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,” researchers say.
Climate change can lead to shifts in the timing of seasons, including warmer winters, earlier springs and hotter summers, and these conditions can disrupt the natural life cycles of pests. The study revealed that due to temperature increases, 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, with major changes noticed within 20 years.