California

Here are summaries of some of the IPM research, innovations and projects going on in California, or benefitting California agriculture, communities and natural areas. Projects listed here are not necessarily funded by the Western IPM Center.

 

Helping Barn Owls Help Farmers

Barn owls are big, beautiful biocontrol.

“Barn owls are rodent-killing machines,” said Sara Kross, an assistant professor in environmental studies at Sacramento State University. “They are natural predators of gophers and voles which can be really horrible pests for agriculture.”

Learning to Manage – and Live with – Coyotes in Southern California

Forrest Gump believed life was like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get inside. It’s much the same for graduate student Danielle Martinez, except she isn’t reaching for tasty chocolates. She’s digging into coyote stomachs as part of a larger research effort studying urban wildlife in Southern California.

Pest or Beneficial: Earwigs in Apples

For growers, a fundamental element of integrated pest management is knowing what pest and beneficial species are in your fields. But what if there’s an insect and no one knows if it’s good or bad? That was the question for apple growers about earwigs.

Tribal Bed Bug Workshop Dispels Myths

There is a lot of fear about bed bugs, and a stigma surrounding them that can keep some people from seeking help with a bed bug infestation. But bed bugs have been hanging around humans for a long time and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

New Guide Helps Land Managers Control Medusahead

As an ecosystem-transformer species, medusahead is among the worst weeds. Not only does it compete for resources with more desirable species, but it changes ecosystem function to favor its own survival at the expense of the entire ecosystem.

Grazing Guidelines for Noxious Weed Control

Researchers, ranchers, and land managers know that livestock grazing can be a valuable and selective noxious-weed management tool, and this guide summarizes all the effective techniques.

Hill-Climbing Cows May Bring Big Benefits to Western Rangeland and Ranchers

Conventional wisdom says cows don’t go up steep slopes. They don’t climb hills and don’t travel very far from water. But some cows never got that memo, and researchers are looking into whether naturally hill-climbing cows can provide production and environmental benefits in the rugged West.

VIDEO: Gold Spotted Oak Borer, or GSOB, in Southern California

The gold spotted oak borer is a tiny beetle causing huge damage in Southern California. It infests the region's towering oak species - coast live oak and canyon live oak - and can kill a centuries-old tree in just a year or two. This video follows the beetle from San Diego to Los Angeles counties to see what damage it's doing and what many fear may come next.

Center-Funded Website Helps Vets Treat Animals for Fleas, Ticks and Other Pests

Whether it's cattle with face flies or a dog with ticks, vets throughout the West can now easily find the available treatment options in their state thanks to a new website built with Western IPM Center funding.

Progress against Onion Pests

An update to the Pest Management Strategic Plan for dry bulb storage onions shows progress against thrips and Iris yellow spot virus, but still challenges to overcome.

Embracing Functional Agricultural Biodiversity to Tap into Nature's Services

Bringing natural diversity to a farm can help boost production and benefit the bottom line. The concept is called functional agricultural biodiversity, and a work group in Oregon is helping Pacific Northwest farmers and conservationists know what plants to incorporate, insects to encourage and habitat to install to maximize their natural benefits.

Spray Reductions in Cotton

For the past 15 years, researchers have been tracking pesticide use on cotton fields in the Southwest, and the reductions they've documented have been nothing short of remarkable.

Center Funding Helps Develop a Better Way to Control Prionus Beetles

Hop growers in the Northwest - as well as a sweet cherry, apple and other fruit growers around the nation - now have a new mating disruption tool to combat the Prionus beetle and its root-boring larvae, thanks to research funded in part by the Western IPM Center.

Boosting Invasive Species Cooperation Using Zebra Chip as a Model

When an invasive species is first detected in an area, the initial response is critical. Like with a cancer, the correct early detection and response can make a big difference in controlling the spread and severity of the outbreak.

Croptime Project Expands Pest-Modeling Website to Include Vegetable-Development Models

Pest managers are familiar with the concept of using degree days to predict pest outbreaks. Plants – at least in part – also develop based on temperature, so a team in Oregon is adapting a degree-day modeling system built for pest management to make a tool for vegetable growers to better plan their planting and harvesting dates.

IPM Adoption is Widespread in the West

Many integrated pest management practices are so widely adopted in Western agriculture they have become conventional pest management. That is one of the key findings of a new report by the Western Integrated Pest Management Center titled Adoption and Impacts of Integrated Pest Management in Agriculture in the Western United States.

Safflower Makes an Areawide IPM Program Work

Safflower, a low-value oil seed crop, is the key to an incredibly successful soil health and areawide integrated pest management program in California — and a great illustration of how IPM works. 

VIDEO: Soil Solarization in the Pacific Northwest

VIDEO: Trapping the heat of the sun to kill pathogens and weeds in the ground works in hot climates - but new plastics and research show it can also be effective in cooler areas like the Pacific Northwest. For organic vegetable growers, it could be a game-changer for weed control.

Decoding Chemical Communications to Control Insects

University of California, Riverside chemical ecologist Jocelyn Millar identifies the chemical signals insects use to communicate, then synthesizes versions of them to help monitor, trap or disrupt their activities. Lygus bug is just one of dozens of species Millar and his team are working on. The common thread is that they all communicate chemically, and decoding those chemical signals can create new ways to control those species where they are pests.

Tribal Work Group

The Western Region Tribal Work Group brought together representatives of several tribes and federal agencies to combat invasive species on tribal lands.