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High temperatures in Paso Robles proving great for local olive farmer

We check in with Kiler Ridge Olive Farm

High temperatures in Paso Robles proving great for local olive farmer

PASO ROBLES, Calif. - When he's not examining his olives, Gregg Bone, owner of Kiler Ridge Olive Farm is actively checking the weather reports from his weather station. 

"When [the station] receives a temperature of 106 degrees, I get an email or a text message and we celebrate," Bone says. 

That's because the heat is helping kill off the olive's biggest predator - the Mediterranean Olive Fruit Fly; it dies at 104 degrees.

"Whenever our station says we've hit 106 degrees, we've killed all the adult flies. The baby flies are still in eggs in the olives if they've been laid there and those are protected by the temperature control of the tree," Bone explains.  

In order to limit that temperature control, crews trim his olive trees to make sure that even flies hiding in the trees have a limited temperature differential. So when it's 110 like it was on Monday, it's still about 107 degrees in the tree. 

Bone says that the consecutive heat waves in Paso Robles this summer have helped kill off three consecutive generations of flies.

"It's been wonderful for the crop. There's a negative which is if it gets too hot at that same time, growth shuts down - so right now the olives aren't growing as it's too hot so it'll just make harvest a little later," he tells us. 

A later harvest does have its upsides however, as Bone says he won't have to compete with local vineyards needing farm workers at the same time.  

"Olives harvest later. Well, if the olives come off early and the grapes come off late - we've had that happen one year, it's very difficult to get the labor pull to pick the olives," he explains. 

Rotating between using the heat and pesticides also helps prevent the creation of 'Super Bugs'.

"So what you want to do in pest control is you want to vary your pest control so that during the time you're using one thing, they're becoming less immune to the other thing. In Paso Robles the advantage we have is that we can use heat as one of those cycles," Bone explains. 

Bone is in luck as Tuesday's temperatures in Paso Robles are expected to be over 100 degrees again. 


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