The pecan nut casebearer is a major nut feeding pest. Shortly after the pollination season casebearer moths lay eggs near the tip of young nutlets. The larvae that hatch from these eggs crawl down to the base of a nut and start feeding. The insect chews its way into the center of the nut, hollowing out the inside. You can identify casebearer feeding by the light strands of webbing the caterpillar uses to fasten nuts to the stem (so the damaged nut doesn't fall off) and by the pile of frass at the base of the nut (photo above).
Each spring, we monitor the activity of the insect by using pheromone and orchard surveys.This year, I've enlisted the help of several growers around the state of Kansas to follow this year's casebearer moth flight using pheromone traps.
The spring 2011 flight has begun in the southern most areas of Kansas as of May 20.