First report of obscure mealy bugs plaguing almonds
Jhalendra Rijal of Entomology Today reports that obscure mealy bug (the official common name, not a mystery pest) has been found in almonds in Modesto, California. A known pest of grapes along the California coast, this is the first time it has been identified in almonds. While only found in one orchard, the infestation was full blown with females, egg clusters, and crawlers. The pests could be present in other orchards.
The obscure mealy bug is not native to California, though its origin is disputed between South America and Australia. It is estimated to have been introduced to California in the late 1800s with nearly 300 known hosts. Since this is the first known case of the pest showing in almonds, potential problems are as yet unknown. The obscure mealy bug is commonly misidentified with a close relative, the grape mealy bug.
42,000 pound almond theft sparks lawsuit
Aimee Green of The Oregonian reports that earlier this spring a mystery truck driver carried off 42,000 pounds of almonds worth $184,000 from SunnyGem, a Southern California almond distributor. The driver and the almonds were never found, but the theft has sparked a lawsuit between SunnyGem and the Portland, Oregon, natural foods company that bought them.
Bridgetown Natural Foods contracted Left Coast Logistics to haul the nuts from Wasco to Portland. Left Coast Logistics reportedly emailed SunnyGem a list of identifying information about the truck and driver that would pick up the delivery. When the truck arrived, the trailer sported the wrong company label and ID number but everything else matched the information in the e-mail, including license plate numbers and the driver’s name.
The theft has lead to a lot of finger pointing as to who’s to blame and where payment is due. SunnyGem claims Bridgetown Natural Foods owes them for the purchase, even though it was never received, while Left Coast Logistics claims SunnyGem is responsible for the theft since they handed over the almonds despite the discrepancies in the pick up information. Bridgetown Natural Foods has consequently filed suit against both companies for the value of the almonds.