Bio-Control for Strawberry Growers

Strawberry Growers Lean on Biologicals to Manage Pest

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California Ag Today recently met with Surendra Dara, a UC Cooperative Extension entomologist based in San Luis Obispo County. According to Dara, California strawberry growers follow many sustainable options.

“Growers are well-educated and have a support system that provides information to them very regularly,” Dara said.

Growers try to apply as much of the IPMs as possible, but there is always a lot more scope in terms of using non-chemical alternatives. That is an area that has room to grow.Strawberries

“The more we know about the options and their potential, they can be more adopted,” Dara said.

He explained that the strawberry growers often lean on biological insects such as beneficial mites that treat those damaging insects. It’s all part of IPM.

The insects are used outdoors along with in greenhouses.

“A bio-control is very well done in strawberries for mite control, but we do not have similar natural enemies for other pests,” Dara said.

There are botanical and microbial options for pest and disease management, and a lot of work is being done about understanding how they work and placing them in the right strategy.

“So, there is definitely plenty of options for us,” Dara said.

CCM Statement on Chlorpyrifos Ban

Flawed Data Forcing Cancellation

News Release From California Citrus Mutual

Recently, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced that they are going to begin the cancellation process of chlorpyrifos. The statement cites scientific findings that chlorpyrifos poses serious public health and environmental risks to vulnerable communities.SaveOurCitrus Logo

“The decision to ban chlorpyrifos is not surprising given the significant pressure from anti-pesticide groups, active legislative proposals, regulatory proceedings, and ongoing court battles,” said CCM President Casey Creamer. “However, this decision relies heavily on an evaluation that was significantly flawed and based upon unrealistic modeling scenarios that are not verifiable by actual results in DPR’s own air monitoring network.”

“California Citrus Mutual and our member growers stand by science that is sound, that properly evaluates risks and puts forward appropriate safeguards to protect ourselves, our employees, and our surrounding communities. We are committed to safe and effective use of chlorpyrifos and other crop protection tools.”

“The process for which this chemical was evaluated was purposely exaggerated to achieve the desired outcome and jeopardizes the scientific credibility of the Department of Pesticide Regulation. This decision sets a terrible precedent for future evaluations and creates a chilling effect on companies planning on making significant investments to bring new products to the market in California.”

“The citrus industry is fighting feverishly to protect itself from the deadly citrus disease, Huanglongbing,” Creamer continued. “In order to do so, we must have the necessary tools in the toolbox for an effective Integrated Pest Management program.”

“The once mighty citrus-producing state of Florida has lost 70% of its production due to this disease, which is expanding exponentially in residential citrus trees in Southern California at this very moment. While our commercial growers will remain vigilant, it is vital that our policymakers recognize the seriousness of the threat and ensure sound scientific procedures are followed.”

“California Citrus Mutual will continue to be actively engaged in the regulatory processes around the cancellation decision and will continue to explore all potential remedies to allow the safe and effective use of chlorpyrifos.”

Biological Products Finding More Demand

Biological Products Industry Alliance Growing Rapidly

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) was started 16 years ago for only five biopesticide member companies. Now there are 129 member companies and membership ranges from manufacturers of biopesticides and biostimulants to service providers, marketers, distributors, and anybody who touches this industry.

Keith Jones is executive director of the BPIA. He said during a recent meeting in Rochester, NY, that the alliance is growing.

“The running theme for the event was the growth of our association, the growth of the industry, and much of that is driven by consumer demand, regulatory pressures, and just a real move towards a sustainable future in agriculture and other markets where biological products are used,” Jones explained.

Biological products got their start in commercial agriculture, such as fruits and vegetables but have grown in demand by other markets like golf courses and ornamental operations. Among the earliest biologicals used in production agriculture are B.t. products.

“For a variety of reasons, some traditional chemistries are losing efficacy because of pests developing resistance,” Jones said. “Biologicals can be helpful with that. They don’t replace traditional chemistries, but they can actually extend the life of traditional chemistries.”

Biologicals are all part of integrated pest management and can be used during different parts of the production season, where conventional products are not labeled for use.

Biologicals can be used at the onset of a growing season and when getting close to harvest, because there are less or no pre-harvest intervals.

“What’s great about biologicals is that most of them have multiple modes of action, so it’s very hard for the pests to become resistant to that,” said Jones, adding that, “There are many benefits of biologicals, and their acceptance is growing rapidly.”

Jones said that biological products don’t replace traditional chemistries, but they can actually extend the life of traditional chemistries.

Greensmith APN Expanding Services

Greensmith APN Ensures the Best of Both Worlds for Biological Control

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

Integrated Pest and Crop Management, otherwise known as IPM, is a critical component of all forms of crop production. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of IPM is the practice of biological control, which includes the control of any pests or invasive plants by using other organisms to monitor their populations.

Lee Tecklenburg of Greensmith APN (Advanced Plant Nutrition), works with both conventional and organic operations in order to help maximize biological control.

Greensmith APN is currently working to put together and market products that work simultaneously with biocontrols on the nutrient side of things.

“We’re trying to create a situation where the plants can thrive and become more tolerant and more resistant,” Tecklenburg explained.

This includes integrating all parts of production, whether it be organic or conventional, in order to tie the entire system together.

“It’s all-encompassing. If you can register something organically today, a conventional grower can use it as well, and it’s not the reverse,” Tecklenburg added. “This approach ensures that everyone is able to benefit from the program Greensmith APN is creating.”

Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus Fights Back

New Strain Creates Challenges

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

A new strain of the Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus has created a challenge among vegetable growers, making integrated pest management, or IPM, increasingly critical. Bob Gilbertson, plant pathologist at UC Davis, has insight and advice as to how farmers should tackle this new strain.

“The first thing is to know what’s out in your field. And there’s a good diagnostic test for curly top, spotted wilt, alfalfa mosaic, and other viruses,” Gilbertson said.

Bob Gilbertson

After the virus is confirmed, he encourages growers to explore their options of treatment. Prior to the new spotted wilt virus strain, growers could turn to the SW-5 resistance gene to cure their field. Unfortunately, Gilbertson explained, the new strain actually breaks that resistance, which is where IPM becomes even more important.

In the future, Gilbertson hopes to find additional resistance genes to break the new strain. Until that time comes, he wants to use good IPM to manage it.

Gilbertson further added, “Increased sanitation, removing overwintering hosts, weeds, and bridge crops like lettuce, and then timing the applications of thrips management better, to slow down the appearance of adult thrips that carry the virus,” are all examples of good IPM.

Oriental Fruit Fly Quarantine Expands in Northern California

New Quarantine Measures 123 Square Miles

News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

A portion of Sacramento and Yolo Counties have been placed under quarantine for the Oriental fruit fly following the detection of 15 flies in and around the southern part of the City of Sacramento near the Lemon Hill community.

The quarantine zone measure 123 square miles, generally bordered on the north by El Camino Avenue; on the south by Laguna Boulevard, on the west by the Sacramento River; and on the east by Bradshaw Road. A link to the quarantine map may be found here: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/off/regulation.html.

To prevent the spread of Oriental fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in the quarantine area are urged not to move those items from their property. However, they may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) on the property where they were grown, or disposed of by double-bagging and placing in the regular trash bin, not green waste.

Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), CDFA primarily uses the “male attractant” technique to eradicate this pest.  Trained workers squirt a small patch of fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of pesticide approximately 10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces; male fruit flies are attracted to the mixture and perish after consuming it. This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations from California over the last several decades.

The Oriental fruit fly is known to target 230 different fruit, vegetable, and plant commodities.  Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit.

Small larvae generally enter the fruit at the stem end, although entry can be made anywhere on the fruit, particularly where two fruits touch. Larvae immediately bore to the center of the fruit and feed around the pit. After reaching maturity, they exit from the fruit and pupate.

While fruit flies and other invasive species that threaten California’s crops and natural environment are sometimes detected in agricultural areas, the vast majority are found in urban and suburban communities.

The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers when they return from infested regions of the world or ship infested produce through the mail. Help protect California’s agricultural and natural resources; please Don’t Pack a Pest (www.dontpackapest.com) when traveling or mailing packages.

The Oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of southern Asia and neighboring islands, including Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and it has invaded other areas, most notably Africa and Hawaii.

Residents with questions about the project may call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. Additional information may be found here: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/off/.

Frank Zalom Named Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Economic Entomology

UC Davis Professor to Head Distinguished Publication

News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

Integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and a past president of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) is the newly selected editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology, the largest and most cited of ESA’s family of scientific journals.

Frank Zalom

The ESA Governing Board today announced that Zalom will succeed John Trumble, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Riverside. Trumble, editor-in-chief for 20 years, informed ESA in late 2017 of his intent to leave the role in 2018. In January, the journal’s editorial board launched a widespread search for his successor.

A 43-member of ESA and the 2014 president, Zalom will serve a five-year term as editor-in-chief. The journal publishes research on the economic significance of insects. It includes sections on apiculture and social insects, insecticides, biological control, household and structural insects, crop protection, forest entomology, and other topics.

“Dr. Frank Zalom’s career can be viewed as a model of applied entomology derived from an understanding of basic biology, and he is an ideal choice to be the new editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology (JEE),” said ESA President Michael Parrella in an ESA news release.

“His unparalleled and broad expertise will serve to continue the journal’s growth as the publication of choice for applied entomological research and to build upon the legacy of Dr. John Trumble,” said Parrella, who is also dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at Idaho State University and former professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. 

Zalom’s 40-year career intersects entomological research, teaching, and application. He served 16 years as director of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) and is the only entomologist in the UC system to receive a simultaneous appointment in teaching, research, and extension. He focuses his research on IPM of agricultural crops.

Editorial board chair Xuguo Zhou, associate professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky, said he and his colleagues are delighted to welcome Zalom as the next editor-in-chief. “We could not have asked for a better candidate in terms of vision, dedication, reputation, experience, and integrity,” Zhou said. “And we also express our deep gratitude to Dr. John Trumble, whose tireless work ethic and unerring leadership have driven JEE to such great success for so long.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased to be selected the next editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology,” Zalom said. “I have spent the last 40 years of my career trying to solve economically important problems caused by arthropods using an IPM approach, and this journal, as well as ESA’s other journals, have always served as a primary foundation and outlet for research conducted in my lab. As I approach the end of my career, I hope to be able to dedicate my efforts to enhancing our Society’s influence on science and its application to addressing some of the most important entomological challenges that affect communities worldwide. JEE is uniquely positioned to do exactly that.”

Zalom joined the UC system in 1980, serving in roles ranging from extension IPM coordinator to professor to vice chair of the department to advisor of the UC Davis International Agricultural Development Graduate Group. He has authored more than 335 journal articles and book chapters. including “Food, Crop Pests, and the Environment” published by APS Press. 

His career includes serving as major professor for 12 Ph.D students and seven master’s degree students.

Zalom is a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Entomological Society, and ESA.  Among his numerous honors: a Fulbright Senior Research Scholarship (1992-93), the ESA Achievement Award in Extension (1992), the ESA Recognition Award (2002), the James H. Meyer Award from UC Davis for teaching, research and service (2004), the Entomological Foundation IPM Team Award (2008), the Entomological Foundation Excellence in IPM Award (2010), Outstanding Mentor Award from the UC Davis Consortium for Women and Research (2013) and the C. W. Woodworth Award (2011), the highest award given by the Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA).

More recently, Zalom received a lifetime achievement award, presented at the 9th International IPM Symposium, held March 19-22 in Baltimore. Last month he played a key role in a U.S. Congressional briefing held in the Rayburn House Office Building to raise awareness for and increase understanding of areawide integrated pest management (AIPM) and the benefits of a comprehensive pest management policy, particularly as it relates to invasive species.

Zalom, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1978, holds two degrees in zoology and ecology from Arizona State University (bachelor of science, 1973, and master’s degree, 1974).

Founded in 1889 and headquartered in Annapolis, Md., ESA is the world’s largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines.

Push Back NOW with Orchard Sanitation

Part One of a Series

Orchard Sanitation Critical This Season

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

We recently spoke with Emily Symmes, the UC Area Integrated Pest Management farm advisor for the Sacramento Valley in statewide IPM program. She told California Ag Today about few reasons as to why Navel Orangeworm damage was so devastating this year, costing tree nut growers at least $137 million.

UC Cooperative Extension Integrated Pest Management Advisor, Butte County
Emily Symmes, UC Cooperative Extension Integrated Pest Management Advisor, based Butte County.

NOW is ubiquitous. And the nut crop footprint in California is larger, with one million acres of almonds, along with pistachios and walnuts up and down the San Joaquin valley.

“The pest is not going anywhere,” Symmes said.

“We had a lot of unique circumstances. The amount of rainfall we got in late 2016 into 2017 was unprecedented and led us into a bad navel orange worm year because growers couldn’t get out and sanitize their orchards”

“Growers were not able to get into their orchards because of standing water,” Symmes explained.

Also, rainfall and moist conditions can help NOW mortality in the winter. “

We tend to think that it can help rot the nuts and do us some favors, but we have to be able to get the nuts shaken or get pulling crews in and get the mummies on the ground and destroyed,” Symmes said.

Heat units also played a part in the development of more NOW.

“It got hot. And it seemed to just not let up. Our degree-day models, or the heat unit that drive insect development, ended up getting pretty far out ahead of what is typical,” Symmes explained.

“By September, we were about two weeks ahead in degree-days, and that which meant moths were out earlier. They’re flying around. They’re laying eggs on the nuts when they’re still on the trees, and we are talking almonds, pistachios and to a lesser extent, walnuts.”

Symmes said the importance of sanitation is to minimize the site where the NOWs mature.

“It’s really important to remember that sanitation efforts aren’t just directly killing any worms that are over-wintering in your orchard. But the other thing that it does is it minimizes those sites where the first and second generations are going to develop next year,” she said.

Despite all these circumstances as to why NOW was serious this this year, it is critically important to start orchard sanitation as soon as possible. It may not be a good idea to wait for rain and fog to help loosen the nuts this season.