Future of Integrated Pest Management

IPM: A Decision Making Process

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

Lori Berger is the academic coordinator for the University of California’s statewide Integrated Pest Management program. She spoke with California Ag Today recently about the sustainability of IPM and where it’s heading in the future.

“IPM is part of a sustainable approach to pest management. It’s very holistic. It’s a decision-making process. It incorporates all factors in an environment and in a situation, and it uses all human resources.”

Berger believes that even though IPMs are sustainable, the system might not work as well as it should.

“IPM has been around for 50 years, but our system is somewhat stuck in that we tend to be more reactive than proactive,” she explained. “If there’s an event such as an invasive pest or some … pesticide incident, some huge regulatory change or some legislative pressure, it’s like all of a sudden the system needs to reboot itself. We need to look deeper into the system and be working in a more embedded way across platforms and people.”

Berger told us that instead of looking at things in a linear way, it’s important to look at all the parts and how they relate to each other to find flaws in the system.

“As scientists, we tend to look at things cause and effect. We were looking into optimizing the whole by looking at the parts, but now taking things that are more of a systemic level, we’re trying to looking at the parts and also how they work in relationship to each other. That’s to where we can realize some of our biggest gains that there’s not as much at stake, or there’s less risk for all parties, and people are more aware of what’s going on.”

ACP Spread in Bakersfield Area, Ingenious Research Proceeds

Ingenious Research Effort to Fight ACP Spread with Natural Predators

 

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

 

beth_grafton-cardwell
Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Cooperative Extension specialist, University of California, Riverside Department of Entomology

As we have reported in-depth before on California Ag Today, the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) is a tiny, mottled brown insect that poses an ever-increasing threat to the state’s robust citrus industry, as well as to residential citrus trees. The pest can spread a bacterium known as Huanglongbing (HLP) that is fatal to citrus trees. The disease has nearly shut down Florida’s citrus industry.

Beth Grafton-Cardwell, cooperative extension specialist in integrated pest management, UC Riverside Department of Entomology, explained the significance of the recent ACP spread to Bakersfield. “That is really problematic because it’s mostly in the urban areas. It’s very difficult to find, to control and to stop that spread. It’s going to move out from that region into the local citrus orchards, and so there are lots of meetings and discussions right now to mobilize growers to get treatments to help protect their citrus orchards against the psyllid.”

#CitrusMatters
#CitrusMatters

To contain the ACP problem, Grafton-Cardwell stated, “There are traps everywhere, but the traps are not terribly efficient. So, we really need to carefully examine groves and flush [new leaf growth] for the nymph form,” she said.

According to Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California’s Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program:

Adults typically live one to two months. Females lay tiny yellow-orange almond-shaped eggs in the folds of the newly developing “feather flush” leaves of citrus. Each female can lay several hundred eggs during her lifespan.

ACP UC IPM
ACP (Source: ACP UC IPM)

The eggs hatch into nymphs that are wingless, flattened, yellow or orange to brownish, and 1/100 to 1/14 inch long. Nymphs molt four times, increasing in size with each nymphal stage (instar), before maturing into adult psyllids. The nymphs can feed only on soft, young leaf tissue and are found on immature leaves and stems of flush growth on citrus.

Save Our CitrusThe nymphs remove sap from plant tissue when they feed and excrete a large quantity of sugary liquid (honeydew). Each nymph also produces a waxy tubule from its rear end to help clear the sugary waste product away from its body. The tubule’s shape—a curly tube with a bulb at the end—is unique to the Asian citrus psyllid and can be used to identify the insect.

Grafton-Cardwell and other experts are concerned because once the ACP becomes established in urban areas, it is difficult to eradicate. “It starts spreading into the commercial citrus, and we’re off and running,” she commented.

bayer-save-our-citrusIn a ingenious effort to control the spread of the psyllid, trained teams of entomologists have imported Tamarixia radiata, a tiny wasp that naturally preys on ACP, from Pakistan to research and release in California. A cooperative effort of the University of California Riverside, Citrus Research Board, United States Department of Agriculture and California Department of Food and Agriculture, researchers are also exploring the effectiveness of another beneficial insect called Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis to assist Tamarixia with control of the Asian citrus psyllid. To see where Tamarixia and Diaphorencyrtus have been released, visit this University of California’s website map at, “Distribution of ACP, HLB and Parasites in California,” and turn on the parasite layers.
Grafton-Cardwell said, “They’re going to inundate that area,” with natural ACP predators, “so hopefully that will push back a little bit.”

USDA Pesticide Data Program Report Confirms Food Safety

USDA Pesticide Data Program Report Confirms Food Safety:

More than 99 percent of sampled food tested below allowable pesticide residue levels!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed again in its annual report that American consumers can focus on the nutritional benefits of conventional and organic produce without concern for pesticide residues. Over 99 percent of fresh and processed food available to consumers tested below allowable pesticide residue levels, as detailed in the 24th Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Report released on January 11, 2016 by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Only .36 percent [0.36%] of the products sampled through the PDP had residues above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established tolerances, giving consumers plentiful options to meet their daily nutritional needs.crop life america logo

“Today’s consumers can choose from food produced with a variety of farming methods and necessary crop protection strategies and be confident that it will sustain and enrich their families’ lives,” stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America (CLA). “Across the nation, our growers continue to use the most advanced crop protection technology available to target specific crop threats. From precision agriculture to integrated pest management, farmers in the heartland, the plains, coastal areas and everywhere in between are pushing forward with the best ways to produce food for their communities and for the country.”

PDP researchers tested a total of 10,619 samples of fresh and processed fruit and vegetables (8,582 samples), oats (314 samples), rice (314 samples), infant formula (1,055 samples), and salmon (354 samples). To ensure the samples were representative of the U.S., researchers collected data in a variety of states throughout different times of the year. The findings support the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, recently released by USDA and the U.S. Department of Health, which encourage consumers to eat more fruits and vegetables.ChooseMyPlate.gov

“With rapid advancements in computing technology, the space for developing new ways to fight agricultural threats is increasing exponentially,” stated Dr. Janet E. Collins, senior vice president of science and regulatory affairs at CLA. “Consumers have a number of options at the grocery store, thanks in large part to the work of the scientific community involved in research and development, the companies that are manufacturing products, and America’s farmers and ranchers. The 2014 PDP report demonstrates again that, with the sound science-based regulation of pesticides and commitment from the industry, farmers and other stakeholders, we can reach toward making sure that every American, no matter their wallet size or geographic location, can access healthy food.”

A 2012 report from CLA demonstrates that crop protection has made healthy food more financially accessible to the American consumer, providing a 47.92 percent savings in overall grocery bills for a family of four in the U.S.1 In addition, increased agricultural production, due to advanced pesticides, has created an additional 1,040,661 jobs generating more than $33 billion in wages—all while decreasing the need for tillage operations, thereby reducing fossil fuel use by 558 million gallons per year.

Recent reports from the United Nations also show that an increasing number of people worldwide have gained access to healthy food. Over the past 25 years, the number of people worldwide who are hungry has declined from one billion to about 795 million, or about one person out of nine—which means that 2 billion people have avoided a “likely state of hunger” given the global population increase of 1.9 billion people since 1990-92.2 Multiple factors have contributed to the decrease in global hunger, including the integration of family farmers and small holders in rural areas into well-functioning markets for food, inputs and labor.

The PDP was established in 1991 for the purpose of collecting data on pesticide residues found in food. Information collected by the PDP is sent to the EPA to help the agency conduct important dietary risk assessments. The USDA also uses this data in the development of integrated pest management objectives. Since the PDP program was initiated, 109 different commodities have undergone testing. A complete version of the 2014 Annual Summary is available at www.ams.usda.gov/pdp.


1 CropLife America. The Contributions of Crop Protection Products to the United States Economy.

2 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program. State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015.


Established in 1933, CropLife America (www.croplifeamerica.org) represents the developers, manufacturers, formulators and distributors of plant science solutions for agriculture and pest management in the United States. CropLife America’s member companies produce, sell and distribute virtually all the crop protection and biotechnology products used by American farmers. CLA can be found on Twitter at @CropLifeAmerica. CLA supports CropLife StewardshipFirst.

Beet Curly Top Virus Alert for Growers

BCTV Grower Alert

by Laurie Greene, California Ag Today reporter

California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Beet Curly Top Virus Control Program (BCTVCP) personnel observed very high sugar beet leafhopper (BLH) counts the first week of March. BLH were mostly nymphs between the 2nd and 4th instar (a developmental stage of  insects, between each moult) with few spring adults.  BLH counts averaged 30-50 adults and nymphs per 10 sweeps. In some locations, counts have been as high as 100 BLH per 10 sweeps. A “normal” spring count would be an average of 10-12 adult BLH and 5-6 nymphs per 10 sweeps. These current conditions follow a devastating year for BCTV in California crops.

Treatment is currently focused on Fresno and Kings Counties where BLH populations are high. BLH counts are minimal at this time in Kern, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties.

Treatment preparations were made last week and the spring treatment campaign began on March 9, 2015. The spray campaign will face several challenges, such as, wind, rain, and heat.  However, the Program is exploring all available options to treat as much of the population as possible. The Program has identified a total of 54,974 acres to be treated so far.

The BCTBCP’s objective is to reduce the incidence of beet curly top virus (BCTV) infection in susceptible crops below a level of economic importance, through the use of integrated pest management techniques. BCTV is an extremely serious plant virus affecting several hundred varieties of ornamental and commercial crops in California. The Curly Top Virus Control Board advises the Secretary on this Program.

The only known vector of this virus the BLH  is an introduced pest and migratory by nature. Populations develop in selected habitats within the San Joaquin, Imperial, Sacramento and Intra coastal Valleys of California as well as moving into California from contiguous states and Mexico. The BCTVCP utilizes intensive surveys to locate and monitor BLH populations throughout the year. As much as 100,000 acres of rangeland and idle agricultural lands are treated annually to control breeding BNL populations on a variety of host plants prior to the migration of adult leafhoppers into susceptible crops. Winter, spring and fall treatment periods coincide with the reproductive biology of BLH. The Program has emphasized the use of biological control by funding research in the exploration and establishment of BLH egg parasites in California.

Just last month, BCTVCP issued the following alert:

The Beet Curly Top Virus Control Program would like to remind growers to disk weedy areas as (soon as possible) prior to the 2015 tomato season. Good weed management prior to having tomatoes transplanted is ideal. When possible, sweep surveys should be conducted to identify the beet leafhopper is present and then an insecticide should be applied prior to disking the weeds. Mowing and disking weedy areas disturbs the beet leafhopper causing it to relocate to other suitable habitat. Although tomato plants are not an ideal host for beet leafhoppers, the leafhoppers will filter through tomato fields, transferring the curly top virus, while they are in the process of looking for another suitable host. The Program also encourages growers to get to know their neighbors and relay the message of good weed management.

 

Oriental Fruit Fly Quarantine in Portion of Los Angeles County

A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the oriental fruit fly (OFF) following the detection of nine adult OFF in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County near the City of Inglewood.

The quarantine zone in Los Angeles County measures 81 square miles, bordered on the north by Avalon Boulevard; on the south by E Victoria Street; on the west by S La Cienga Boulevard; and on the east by California Avenue.  A link to the quarantine map may be found here: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/offq.

To prevent the spread of fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in the fruit fly quarantine area are urged not to move any fruits or vegetables from their property.  Fruits and vegetables may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where they were picked.

To help prevent infestations, officials ask that residents do not bring or mail fresh fruit, vegetables, plants, or soil into California unless agricultural inspectors have cleared the shipment beforehand, as fruit flies and other pests can hide in a variety of produce.  It is important to cooperate with any quarantine restrictions and to allow authorized agricultural workers access to your property to inspect fruit and oriental fruit fly traps for signs of an infestation.

“Our system to detect invasive species like the oriental fruit fly is working well and according to design,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross.  “The key is to respond quickly and take action before the pests can spread.”

Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), CDFA uses “male attractant” technique as the mainstay of its eradication effort for this pest.  This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations from California.  Trained workers squirt a small patch of fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of pesticide approximately 8-10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces; male fruit flies are attracted to the mixture and die after consuming it.

The male attractant treatment program is being carried out over several square miles surrounding the sites where the oriental fruit flies were trapped.  A map of the treatment area is available online at:  www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/ffmaps-peps.

On or near properties where fruit flies have been detected, additional measures include removal of host fruits and vegetables, fruit cutting to detect any fly larvae that may be present, and treatment of host trees and plants with the organic-approved material spinosad.

The oriental fruit fly is known to target over 230 different fruit, vegetable, and plant commodities.  Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit.  The eggs hatch into maggots and tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.

While fruit flies and other invasive species threaten California’s crops, the vast majority of them are detected in urban and suburban areas.  The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions around the world or from packages of home grown produce sent to California.  The oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of Southern Asia and neighboring islands including Sri Lanka and Taiwan.  It is also found in Hawaii.

Residents with questions about the project may call the department’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

Climate Change Affects Integrated Pest Management Practices

Despite Lack of Funding, IPM Programs Need to be Re-Worked

By Colby Tibbet, California Ag Today Reporter

Climate Change is a pressing concern for growers and others in the ag industry, prompting the modification and redesign of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, among other farming operations.

John Trumble, an entomology professor at the University of California, Riverside, explained that we are going have to change our IPM programs—processes based on scientific research for solving pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment. “We will have to account for changes in temperature, insects infesting fields more quickly, bio-controls including beneficial insects becoming possibly less effective, and altered plant growth due to elevated CO2 in the atmosphere.

Trumble noted,“What worked for your father isn’t going to work for us now. In the last 10 to 15 years, we’ve seen major changes in which insects are present, speed of entry into the fields, the extent of damage they cause and the plant’s lack of compensation for that damage. That is a lot of work for somebody in the future to redo all those IPM programs developed in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, that we’ve used successfully for years.”

“One of our biggest problems in re-working these IPM strategies is that there’s a general move afoot in the government to reduce funding: for the USDA, the EPA, and even the National Institutes of Health. This year the USDA funded only 5 percent of the grants submitted,” said Trumble, “versus the normal 10-15 percent, and the funding shortage could halt investment in future programs. In a bad year, USDA would invest 12 percent—but five percent, who’s going to go into agriculture if you can only get five out of 100 grants actually funded? It’s really awful,” Trumble remarked.

 

USDA to Help Farmers Diversify Weed Control Efforts

USDA Addresses Herbicide Resistant Weed Control

Edited by California Ag Today

 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced TODAY the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking steps to address the increase of herbicide resistant weeds in the country’s agricultural systems.

In California, glyphosate resistant weeds are found throughout the state, and growers are warned to minimize using the material back-to-back during weed control. More information can be found http://info.ucanr.org/weed_sept/.

“Weed control in major crops is almost entirely accomplished with herbicides today,” said Vilsack. “USDA, working in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, must continue to identify ways to encourage producers to adopt diverse tactics for weed management in addition to herbicide control. The actions we are taking today are part of this effort.”

To help farmers manage their herbicide-resistant weeds more holistically and sustainably:

  • USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer financial assistance under its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for herbicide resistant weed control practices that utilize Integrated Pest Management plans and practices.
  • Later this year NRCS will be soliciting proposals under the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Program for innovative conservation systems that address herbicide resistant weeds.
  • USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will actively promote use of best management practices (BMPs) in design protocols for regulated authorized releases of genetically engineered (GE) crops and will include recommendations for BMPs with the authorization of field trials of HR crops.
  • USDA is partnering with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) and is providing funds to develop education and outreach materials for various stakeholders on managing herbicide resistant weeds. The Secretary has directed Dr. Sheryl Kunickis, Director of the USDA Office of Pest Management Policy, as the point person leading this effort with the USDA.

 

USDA works with the EPA

The issue of herbicide resistant weeds has become one of increasing importance for agriculture. When herbicides are repeatedly used to control weeds, the weeds that survive herbicide treatment can multiply and spread.

With EPA’s announcement TODAY on the registration of new uses for herbicide mixtures containing the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate (in the Enlist® formulation) in conjunction with new genetically-engineered crop varieties, farmers have more tools for improved management of emerging populations of herbicide-resistant weeds in corn and soybeans crops. In its decision for 2,4-D use on genetically modified corn and soybean, EPA has outlined new requirements for registrants as part of a product stewardship program.

The USDA Office of Pest Management Policy worked with EPA to address the issue of herbicide resistance through appropriate label language that will require registrants to develop a stewardship program for the herbicide, develop training and education on proper use of the product that includes diversifying weed management, investigate and report nonperformance, and develop and implement a remediation plan for suspected herbicide resistant weeds.

EPA intends to require the same stewardship plans for all new applications for product registration on genetically modified crops with the goal being to encourage effective resistance management while maintaining needed flexibility for growers.

USDA recognizes that the problem of herbicide resistant weed control will not be solved solely through the application of new herbicides. USDA has worked with the Weed Science Society of America for a number of years on identifying best management practices for farmers and on addressing impediments to adoption of those practices.

USDA will continue to work to ensure that growers have the diverse tools they need to address the management of herbicide resistant weeds.

Sources: USDA, CDFA