Gentle morning rain kept us dozing late. Last night was warm and muggy. Prime evening for Plum Curculio (PC) to begin feeding and breeding on the fruit trees. With the threat of scab mostly behind us, we’ve begun spraying the fruit trees with kaolin clay (Surround). The clay is mixed with water in a backpack sprayer and applied to the foliage and burgeoning apple fruit. The small clay particulates coat any existing PC, entering all pores and orfices. As you might imagine, this irritates the PC to the point of exit. The surrounding wild fruit trees will most likely feel the pressure as the PC seek trees sans spray. The alternative to kaolin clay is Imidan – a non-organic, broad-spectrum organophosphate insecticide that poisons insects through cholinesterase inhibition of the autonomic nervous system. Many consider Imidan to be the lesser of many conventional evils and, from an economical standpoint – labor hours needed for application – Imidan is considered a practical solution when PC exhibits heavy pressure. But with all considered, we’ve decided to stick with a diligent application of the clay. We aren’t exposing ourselves or the environment to harmful substances, other beneficial insects will remain safe and, if we remain observant and persistant, the clay will hopefully be just as effective as the Imidan.