UC IPM mobilizes to mitigate two new pest threats
When important, new pest issues arise, UC IPM is positioned to coordinate a rapid response among UC research and extension staff, agency personnel, and industry. Late in 2009, the program took action on two pests that threaten California environments.
On Oct. 8, European grapevine moth (EGVM), Lobesia botrana, was confirmed in Napa County vineyards—the first detection in the United States. EGVM is the primary pest of grapevines in Europe and can be expected to cause significant economic harm to California’s diverse grape industries if it becomes established. Larvae feed on berries and cause extensive damage to the bunch.
By the end of October, UC IPM had posted an article on its Web site that described the pest, how to monitor for it, and what to do if it were found. The article also included photos to help growers identify all life stages of the pest. Authors plan to update the page, as more is known, to alert farm advisors and industry personnel to the changing situation.
UC IPM Advisor Lucia Varela researched the scientific literature, most of it foreign, and drafted the article in collaboration with UC Davis entomologist Frank Zalom and UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor Monica Cooper.
Another recent introduction to California and the Pacific Northwest is spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii. SWD infests ripening fruit in cherries, caneberries, and strawberries in both agricultural and urban settings. The impact on California crops could be great if the pest moves to grapes or stone fruits, as it has in the Pacific Northwest.
In November, UC IPM convened a meeting of more than two dozen experts from California, Oregon, and Washington universities and two agencies—USDA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture—to coordinate the response to this new threat. The scientists shared their knowledge of the fly’s identification and history, and UC geneticists discussed what their Drosophila genomics projects can contribute to the effort. The meeting resulted in several multistate research collaborations to begin research to thoroughly understand the pest and what it will take to thwart it.
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