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2006 Annual Report

UC Statewide IPM Program

Codling moth larvae bore into walnut
First-generation codling moth larvae bore into a walnut. Photo by Jack Kelly Clark.

Sex and insects are key to pest management

Wind tunnels that simulate a natural plume of air, a moving floor to give the illusion of flying, and insects listening to vibrations to signal courtship behavior are a few research methods entomologists described as part of “Orchard Integrated Pest Management Training” on March 17 in downtown Sacramento.

About 70 UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and pest control advisors (PCAs) from Yuba City to Visalia came to learn about the latest information on how to reduce the number of insects and the serious crop damage they cause.

The UC Statewide IPM Program sponsored the event, and UC IPM Advisor Carolyn Pickel spearheaded the effort. “I wanted to provide practical information to help field IPM practitioners make better pest management decisions in their daily lives,” she says. “Today, there are fewer farm advisors in the university system, and less applied research fieldwork is being done. We can learn a lot from experiments being done in the laboratory.” | Read the full article |

Cottontail rabbit
A cottontail rabbit. Photo by Tracy Ellis.

Preventing rabbits from causing serious plant damage

Cottontail rabbits cause extensive damage to ornamental plant nurseries in southern California by eating plants and damaging irrigation lines. With few methods to control the damage, UC IPM Advisor Cheryl Wilen and her field team used sophisticated technology to reduce the impact of rabbits.

Working closely with Pardee Tree Nursery in San Diego County and with funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture Vertebrate Pest Research Advisory Committee, Wilen used Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to see how nursery practices and the incidence of rabbit damage are related, as well as to monitor the impact of experimental strategies to reduce their damage. The solutions are ingenious.

"California nursery growers report cottontail rabbits as the primary cause of breached irrigation lines and plant damage," says Wilen. "One large commercial nursery in San Diego County reported more than $10,000 each year in direct plant loss and nearly $12,000 annually for repairing irrigation lines."

It’s illegal to bait cottontail rabbits in California, so growers must look at other options to control them. The team studied nursery characteristics such as irrigation type, container type, planting density, canopy width and height, and the incidence of rabbit damage. Exclusionary and restricted fencing with and without trapping was then tested in high-damage areas. The team also developed and tested various materials to protect irrigation tubing.

"We determined that trapping is not effective because even when a moderate number of rabbits were trapped, there were still more rabbits entering the area from surrounding areas and causing damage," says Wilen. | Read the full article |

Next article >> Weed management practices and rice

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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