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Chestnut trees and weevils

 
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How do I know a chestnut has a weevil in it? I was sorting and throwing away nuts with holes and cracks but it seems people are still finding weevils in them.
How do I prevent weevils? I want to sell my chestnuts but not if I'm selling weevil infested chestnuts.

Also, germinating the nut. I know it needs refrigerated for 3 months with a damp towel, air ventilation, at 34-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Can I wash them first? Do they need to be perfect nuts meaning no cracks, holes, etc.?
 
pollinator
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There is a good video on YouTube from Red Fern Farm about chestnuts. They dip them in hot water to kill the weevils. A friend puts them in the freezer until he uses them.
 
Misty Basford
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Kris,

I was soaking them in scolding hot water for 30 minutes and freezing them, but people were still complaining of the weevils. I thought only the nuts that had holes in it had the weevils. People are supposedly finding the weevils in the nuts without holes. I feel bad. We collect them all day long. Some that fall overnight get collected.
 
pollinator
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This sounds super frustrating.. I am just planting chestnuts, not looking forward to this..

I.wonder what weavil percentages other sellers have? Is there anywhere nearby you could go buy a bag of nuts to compare?

Hope someone has an answer for you!
 
Misty Basford
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Dillon,

I seem to be the only one in my area. I keep googling. I also emailed a nursery asking for information. Still waiting for a response. It is very frustrating. I want to giving people great nuts but I need more experience I guess.
 
gardener
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This link has a lot of info, including the nugget that the hot water temp needs to be very precise.

There’s also an orchard “sanitation” suggestion aimed at capturing grubs as they emerge by storing nuts in buckets. But the implication is that if you wait for grubs to eat their way out, the REMAINING nuts will be worm-free.

http://www.centerforagroforestry.org/weevil.pdf
 
gardener
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Misty Basford wrote:Kris,

I was soaking them in scolding hot water for 30 minutes and freezing them, but people were still complaining of the weevils. I thought only the nuts that had holes in it had the weevils. People are supposedly finding the weevils in the nuts without holes. I feel bad. We collect them all day long. Some that fall overnight get collected.



The eggs are laid just as the fruits are developing, this usually means the egg is inside the nut as it is growing.
You will need aerated compost tea and DE to combat the weevils so they can't lay their eggs. Spray when the flowers are forming, then again just as they begin to open.
DE should be sprinkled or "Puffed" (from an old fashioned pump duster) all over the branches and leaves all spring long.
The soil needs aerated compost tea from the trunk junction with the soil all the way out to 1-2 feet past the drip line.
That will give the tree some protection against the weevil population.
They over winter under leaves and the top 1/2 inch of soil, so treating the soil with compost tea and raking up the leaves will also help prevent infestation.

Redhawk
 
Misty Basford
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Bryant,

Thank you! Excellent information. I appreciate it.
 
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There’s also an orchard “sanitation” suggestion aimed at capturing grubs as they emerge by storing nuts in buckets. But the implication is that if you wait for grubs to eat their way out, the REMAINING nuts will be worm-free.



Seems like a reasonable method. Just a few days ago I had 5 gallons of shelled nuts. Each one was carefully inspected for no bug holes. Then they sat a couple days. There were many weevil grubs in the bottom of the bucket. The smell was wonderful when the nuts were roasting. Some tasted great but others did not. I suspect because some of them were stale rather than bug infested. I have since thoroughly raked under the trees to remove all debris, especially old nuts. Read a lot about chestnuts last year & that was the main recommendation for minimizing the weevils. Keep under the tree clean. Collecting fresh chestnuts at least once a day now. Hoping for better results.

DE. Sounds like a great plan!!!
 
gardener & bricolagier
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The bucket idea could be function stacked: make it a metal mesh bottomed container, up off the ground, and let chickens clean up the grubs as fast as they fall to the bottom and hit the ground. Death by chicken is pretty efficient :)
 
Misty Basford
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We clean up under our trees a couple times a day. We collect several times a day. I try to soak in hot water and freeze immediately. However people who buy them to eat so not want to crack open a nut and find a dead weevil. I need to learn more preventative measures for next year.
 
Misty Basford
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Redhawk,

Where do I get the compost tea and DE?
 
Pearl Sutton
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I buy Diatomaceous Earth (DE) at the local feed store, the farmers use it to control bugs around the cattle. Last bag cost me about $14.00 for 50 pounds.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Like Pearl mentioned, get DE from a local feed store (it is food grade and far less expensive than at any other type of store).

The Compost tea you have to make yourself. Make a good compost heap and nurture it along so it is full of bacteria and fungi then make a big tea bag to hold about 2-3 lbs of the finished compost and place that bag in a  large bucket and cover with non-chlorinated water (or tap water that has sat out for 3 days), you can also add about a cup per 10 gal. of water to speed up the reproduction of your microorganisms.
Either use an air pump or stir frequently to get extra air into the brewing tea (this takes 24 to 48 hours, maximum time is 72 hours) once the tea is fully aerated you can either use a bucket or a pump up sprayer to apply the tea to your plants and the soil around them.
 
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