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UC pest program chronicled

From California's farms to suburban lawns, the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management program provides the latest research for controlling nuisances and profit-killing invasions of insects, plant diseases, birds, gophers and squirrels. A compilation of recent progress is chronicled in the program’s 2009 annual report, now available.

The vine mealybug, for instance, first appeared in Southern California’s Coachella Valley in the mid-1990s threatening the state’s $2.3 billion wine, table and raisin grape industry. A native of the Mediterranean regions of Europe and the Middle East, Argentina and Mexico, it steadily spread northward to vineyards in the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast and the North Coast.

Over the last decade, UC researchers conducted studies on insecticides and natural enemies to put together an effective and long-lasting vine mealybug control program. To stop the spread of the pest to new vineyards, they developed a hot-water immersion protocol for vine cuttings that is nearly foolproof.

The report also contains articles about residential pests. For example, homeowners plagued by tiny black ants have during the last decade begun turning in droves to over-the-counter insecticides that contain pyrethroids. However, scientists determined that pyrethroid runoff from urban neighborhoods was making some natural waterways toxic to aquatic organisms.

Efforts to provide home pest-control professionals and homeowners with information for managing ants without harming the environment became one of the IPM program’s highest priorities. UC IPM produced a 20-minute online video that shows how to manage Argentine ants using a preventative IPM approach, according to the annual report.

The report also highlights the long-term success of pheromone mating disruption for codling moth in pears and how UC scientists have overcome barriers to adopting pheromone mating disruption in walnuts.

The 12-page report – titled Highlights 2009 – documents research and education progress by UC IPM scientists and projects that were sponsored through UC IPM’s competitive grants programs. Training and extension events outlined in Highlights were held statewide, and often in partnership with groups inside and outside of UC.

Web and PDF versions of the report are available at

For more information, see the technical contact listed at the end of each article, or call Joyce Strand, IPM associate director of communications, at (530) 752-8350.

TAGS: Management
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