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Annual Reports

2004IPM in Action (1 of 2)

UC IPM partners with agencies to manage San Jose scale and peach twig borer

Insecticide management of San Jose scale and peach twig borer in almonds and stone fruits has been a primary contributor to surface water contamination of California waterways.

In cooperation with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Tree Fruit Agreement, and the Almond Board of California, UC IPM Advisor Walt Bentley and farm advisors Mario Viveros, Roger Duncan, Brent Holtz, Richard Coviello, Harry Andris, and Kevin Day have developed alternatives for managing these pests.

One of the most successful innovations is a sampling program to predict the need to spray to control San Jose scale. Twig sampling during the dormant period is an excellent indicator of resident scale populations, although the thresholds for treatment are quite different between almonds and stone fruits.

Demonstrations through the Almond Pest Management Alliance indicate that a treatment is warranted when scales infest 20 percent of the fruiting spurs. Demonstration orchards used in the Stone Fruits Alliance suggest that a lower threshold, 3 percent infested spurs, is needed. In almonds, only the wood is damaged by San Jose scale (no loss is due to nut infestation). San Jose scale infests stone fruit and makes it unmarketable. Fruit infestation can occur even when San Jose scale is at low abundance.

The group has also found that the use of dormant horticultural oils is as effective as using oils with organophosphates. Using oils alone greatly reduces the potential for surface water contamination.

Although oils do not control peach twig borer, newer and safer pesticides that do not contaminate surface water can be used for this key pest. As peach twig borer emerges from wintering during late bloom, reduced-risk pesticides that are nontoxic to honeybees have been integrated into the pest management program.

This work addresses three of the high priority core issues identified by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources: prediction and early detection of pest species, the use of alternatives to broad-spectrum chemicals, and mitigation of surface water contamination.

Results from UC IPM research on mosquitoes in rice

This year's invasion of West Nile virus in California highlighted the importance of mosquitoes in the agricultural landscape.

The UC IPM and the University-wide Mosquito Research Program cooperatively funded research by Sharon Lawler, Deborah Dritz, and Anton Cornel at UC Davis on how rice cultivation practices affect mosquito populations.

One study was on the effects on mosquito larvae and predatory insects from the pyrethroid insecticide lambda-cyhalothrin, which is used against pests of rice. Lawler and colleagues found that a single, labeled-rate application of lambda-cyhalothrin killed 80 to 90 percent of pyrethroid-susceptible mosquito larvae for at least 18 days, providing some incidental control of mosquito larvae (and perhaps also adult mosquitoes resting in or near rice fields).

However, throughout this time period, resistant mosquito larvae survived much better than susceptible larvae, suggesting that widespread use of lambda-cyhalothrin could select for pyrethroid resistance in mosquitoes. In addition, lambda-cyhalothrin also killed beneficial insects, consistent with previous studies on mosquitofish, suggesting possible disruption of biological control of mosquito larvae.

Overall, because lambda-cyhalothrin is also used for control of adult mosquitoes, the study indicated that mosquito abatement personnel would benefit from communicating with growers regarding pesticide use. The project also highlighted the need for alternative controls for both mosquitoes and rice pests, and their potential interactions.

IPM advisors author seasonal guide for almonds

Cover of Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management Practices in Almonds Almond growers can find up-to-date information in the recently published Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management Practices in Almonds, by the Almond Pest Management Alliance (PMA). The guide is designed to help almond growers make environmentally responsible pest management decisions year round, without decreasing yields or increasing reject levels.

The guide contains information on how to manage almond pests by first considering environmentally friendly, low-toxic materials. The book also gives guidelines and thresholds for situations where growers may need to use a broad-spectrum insecticide.

The information is based on University of California research and results of the Almond PMA. UC IPM advisors Carolyn Pickel and Walt Bentley were involved in the project. PMA demonstration sites are with Joe Connell in Butte County, Roger Duncan in Stanislaus County, and Mario Viveros in Kern County.

Almond growers have reduced dormant applications by 77 percent from 1991 to 2000, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. This reduction was attributed primarily to the research and educational efforts of the PMA, as well as UC farm and IPM advisors.

What Is an Environmentally Responsible Program?

  • Monitoring pest and beneficial insects and mites, and spraying only when treatments are warranted.
  • Tolerating low pest populations that are below economic threshold levels.
  • Using effective, environmentally friendly, and less toxic pesticides whenever possible.
  • Using cultural controls or biological controls.
  • Avoiding broad-spectrum insecticides unless treatment thresholds are exceeded and effective, environmentally friendly insecticides are not available.
The Almond Pest Management Alliance is dedicated to demonstrating environmentally responsible pest management practices to manage economic pests in almonds. The partnership includes the Almond Board of California, UC farm and IPM advisors, California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and U.S. EPA Region 9.

IPM advisor helps farmers with agricultural pest management problems in Kosovo

UC IPM Advisor Walt Bentley in KosovoThink globally. That's what IPM Advisor Walt Bentley did when he recently traveled to Kosovo to help farmers with their pest management problems.

Walt volunteered to advise Kosovo growers on pest problems in their apple, pear, plum, and cherry crops. He worked with local agricultural and university officials to implement an IPM program with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Founded in 1933, the IRC is at work in 25 countries to help those uprooted or affected by violent conflict and oppression.

Walt gave six presentations to tree fruit farmers throughout Kosovo and visited farms and nurseries in the region. He provided specific training based on problems found in the orchards during his field visits and distributed pest management guidelines produced by the UC IPM Program.

"Farmers have lost everything from trees to equipment used to manage their orchards because of Serbian bombing," says Walt. They do have the advantage of small orchards that are about 2.5 acres that allows them to manage more intensively using cultural techniques. Farmers produce crops primarily for local markets, but don't export goods.

"The key pest problem apple farmers face is apple scab. Almost every orchard we visited had severe symptoms of this disease. Practices we would follow here are impossible for these small acreage farmers who do not have access to products available in the rest of Europe."

The second most prevalent pest problem is codling moth. Walt presented information on identification, trapping, record keeping, and management of this pest. But, again, farmers lack the product resources available in the rest of the world, and they rely on many toxic products that are no longer used in the rest of Europe and North America.

Providing UC IPM manuals and pest guidelines was invaluable for this training, says Walt. "Being able to show the range of pesticides available in other countries was important and also served as examples to local officials and farmers of the type of information that could be developed for their region."

Demonstration orchards are the key to implementing better pest management in Kosovo tree fruits, according to Walt. Finding a farmer in the area who is willing to support the system is the first step. "Using a successful farmer to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of a program will help other farmers to adopt the program."

Walt also suggests that a cooperative be established where farmers could purchase materials from countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Italy, or Germany. Better application equipment is also vital.

The United States Agency for International Development funded this project.

Cotton industry partnerships lead to improved IPM outreach

UC IPM Advisor Pete Goodell in cotton fieldThe UC IPM Program has teamed up with the cotton industry in the San Joaquin Valley to protect their product from contaminants such as sticky insect honeydew, and in the past two seasons, almost no complaints of sticky cotton have been reported.

Through the efforts of IPM Advisor Pete Goodell, UC IPM has developed partnerships to help coordinate whitefly and aphid management extension programs. These industry partners include CalCot, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, J. G. Boswell Company, the San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association, and Looking South Publications.

Pete developed educational materials for these groups in several formats, including print, electronic, and Web. County farm advisors arranged local production meetings where 18 presentations reinforced the importance of preventing sticky cotton by managing aphid and whitefly populations below action thresholds. Pete coordinated among industry, researchers, and extension, providing a venue for industry to express its concerns and for researchers to focus their resources on priority issues.

Pete has kept the UC IPM Program involved by providing input to cotton pest management guidelines for aphid and whitefly. Included in these updates were insecticide management strategies based in part on UC IPM-supported research projects by Larry Godfrey, extension entomologist, and Bob Hutmacher, statewide cotton specialist.

The industry, in its quest for a clean product, gave Cooperative Extension a direct conduit to clientele and provided research and extension funding. Extension, through county advisors and campus-based specialists, provided the means for delivering the science-based information locally. UC IPM provided leadership and resources for research and implementation. The result of these efforts has been a successful clean-cotton campaign.

IPM delivers outreach program for growers plagued by vine mealybug

UC IPM Advisor Lucia Varela at hands-on workshop for grape field workersIn late 2002, the first vine mealybug infestation was found in the North Coast wine region. Vine mealybug is an exotic new pest that affects grapevines.

Feeding by this insect causes cluster contamination, yield loss, and transmission of viral diseases. Lucia Varela, North Coast IPM advisor, responded by organizing the Agricultural Commissioner and personnel at California Department of Food and Agriculture to initiate an aggressive trapping program for the fall, continuing through 2004. The trapping program revealed that the infestation was not only sudden but also widespread, with 34 confirmed sites identified so far in Napa and Sonoma counties. The results demanded an immediate and effective response to address a new pest about which little was known.

Lucia delivered an outreach program to growers, vineyard managers, pest control advisers, and vineyard workers. She also provided immediate help to those growers with infested sites. This entailed quickly rewriting the UC pest management guidelines that form part of the North Coast Agricultural Commissioner's Compliance Agreement.

Vineyard managers and winery personnel raised concerns about their vineyards becoming infested through current practices of recycling winery waste into vine rows. In collaboration with Rhonda Smith, Sonoma County Viticulture advisor, Lucia conducted experiments on the fate of vine mealybug in different stages and during the process of wine making. From these experiments, they determined the relative risk of the different streams of winery waste being contaminated with vine mealybug. Sanitation measures for winery waste are currently being developed.

UC IPM's strong research and outreach program made a quick response possible. The IPM Education and Publications unit supported changes to the pest management guidelines that form the basis for regulations concerning this insect. IPM Advisor Walt Bentley provided technical support and numerous consultations on cleaning up the infested sites. Nursery material was identified as the major culprit of North Coast infestation. With Statewide IPM funding, Walt and David Haviland developed a hot-water treatment that has already been adopted by nurseries.

Grape nurseries adopt new tools for vine mealybug control

IPM advisors David Haviland and Walt Bentley have been working closely with grape nursery workers to develop preventive management programs for vine mealybug, Plannococcus ficus, in California grape nurseries. Efforts by these advisors and cooperating industry personnel have resulted in IPM practices approved by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to ensure that grape nurseries don't inadvertently play a role in the spread of this recently introduced exotic pest.

Grape nurseries now use management programs based on sanitation, monitoring with pheromone traps, and optional use of hot-water treatments. Sanitation is important to ensure that vine mealybug never gets into a nursery operation. Pheromone traps detect very low populations of this pest that would otherwise go undetected, and a nursery-funded trapping program by CDFA is now in place to monitor all nursery vineyards registered and certified by the state.

"Nurseries that produce more than 80 percent of the grape planting materials statewide have adopted hot-water treatments," says David. "Our laboratory studies show that, by immersing cuttings or vines into hot water for 5 minutes at 127°F, more than 99.9 percent of vine mealybugs could be killed."

Based on their results, the CDFA has adopted hot-water treatments as a viable control strategy for this pest.

2004 awards and honors

The following have been recognized for their accomplishments:

  • Frank Zalom, director of the UC IPM Program from 1988 to 2001, is the recipient of the UC Davis 2004 James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in research, teaching, and public and university service.
  • Mary Lou Flint, director of IPM Education and Publications, received the Environmental Service Award from the San Francisco Department of the Environment for lifetime achievements and public service in integrated pest management.

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