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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
University of California
Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

Posts Tagged: Integrated Pest Management

A healthy start back to school

With integrated pest management, school yards are healthier environments for children.
As summer is quickly coming to a close, and most kids have already headed back to school or will be returning in the next couple of weeks, integrated pest management will be an expected and important tool for the upcoming school year.

Classrooms, playgrounds, and athletic fields that were quiet during the summer months will once again be filled with the sounds of learning and playing. Landscape and pest management professionals have been taking advantage of the slow summer months preparing the grounds and facilities for the upcoming year. While at one time this may have meant heavy applications of pesticide to rid the facilities of pest problems, today schools are healthier environments for our kids.  

Schools are required to follow the Healthy Schools Act (HSA), a law passed in 2001 in response to increasing concern of pesticide exposure and resulting heath issues. The HSA gives parents and staff the “right to know” about what pesticides are being applied and requires schools to keep records of applications and report information to the state. The HSA also encourages the use of integrated pest management (IPM) and the adoption of least toxic pest management practices as the primary way of managing pests in schools. Each school or district appoints an IPM coordinator to carry out the requirements of the Healthy Schools Act.

Healthy Schools Act Reminders for the School Year
At the beginning of each academic year, schools must provide parents and staff in writing of all pesticide products expected to be used throughout the year. The notice must include the names of the products and active ingredients. Parents and staff who wish to be notified of each specific pesticide application at their school site can register to be notified individually by mail 72 hours before the application. At least 24 hours prior to a pesticide application, schools must post warning signs. The signs must remain up for at least 72 hours after the treatment.

Each school is also required to maintain records for at least four years of all pesticides used and to report pesticide use to both the county agricultural commissioner and the Department of Pesticide Regulation. There are certain products that are exempt from the notification and posting requirements of the HSA. These include reduced-risk pesticides, such as self-contained baits or traps or gels or pastes used for crack-and-crevice treatments. Antimicrobials and pesticides exempt from registration are exempt from all aspects of the Healthy Schools Act, including reporting.

While not required, schools are strongly encouraged under the HSA to adopt an integrated approach to managing pests. IPM focuses on long-term prevention of pests by monitoring and inspecting to find out what caused the pest and taking steps to eliminate those favorable conditions to reduce future problems. IPM uses a combination of methods to solve pest problems using least toxic pesticides only after other methods have allowed pests to exceed a tolerable level.

With IPM, schools get long-term solutions to pest problems. There is less pesticide used reducing the risk of pesticide exposure. Finally, less notification, posting, and recordkeeping is required from schools.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation School IPM Program has a new handout reminding schools of the requirements of the HSA. For more information on the School IPM program and the Healthy Schools Act, visit the DPR website, and for more on IPM, visit the UC Statewide IPM website.

Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 9:44 AM

UC IPM introduces new year-round IPM programs

Got pests and want to use integrated pest management? Use a year-round IPM program developed by the UC Statewide IPM Program. If you’re not familiar with what a year-round IPM program is, think of it as a checklist for the agricultural pest management activities you should be doing throughout the season. You can take the new video tour "Using Year-Round IPM Programs" to explore the benefits and uses of IPM in field, orchard and vineyard crops. If you are managing pests in cole crops or pistachios, see the two newest year-round IPM programs.

Monitoring the most important pests, making management decisions, and planning for the following season are all activities in the year-round IPM programs. Even better are how they connect to the Pest Management Guidelines so you can read about the details . . . how to monitor, what the treatment thresholds are, or the best pesticide to use.

One of the basic IPM principles is to choose the best pesticide for the situation. The year-round IPM programs help you do this by ensuring you’re applying pesticides only when you need to, and providing you with information so you can choose the most effective pesticide with the least harm to water quality, air quality, natural enemies and honey bees.

The checklist, photo ID pages, and monitoring forms are easily printable for use in the field. Interested in other crops? We have 25 year-round IPM programs:

  • Alfalfa
  • Almond
  • Apricot
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cherry
  • Citrus
  • Corn
  • Cole crops
  • Cotton
  • Cucurbits
  • Dry Beans
  • Grape
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarine
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Peppers
  • Pistachio
  • Plum
  • Potato
  • Prune
  • Strawberry
  • Tomato
  • Walnut

Let us know how year-round IPM programs are benefiting you.

Year-round IPM ensure effective pest control with least harm to the natural environment.
Year-round IPM ensure effective pest control with least harm to the natural environment.

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Integrated approach can reduce the risk of Fusarium wilt in lettuce

In a comprehensive study published in the January-March 2012 issue of the University of California’s California Agriculture journal, researchers evaluated the myriad factors that contribute to crop damage from Fusarium wilt, and conclude that an integrated management approach is most effective.

“Management of Fusarium wilt requires an integrated approach that includes crop rotation to reduce soil inoculum levels and the use of resistant cultivars during the warmest planting windows,” wrote UC Davis plant pathology professor Thomas Gordon and co-authors.

Lettuce is the fifth most valuable agricultural commodity in California, with a farm-gate value of over $1.7 billion in 2009.

Fusarium wilt affects all major lettuce production areas in California and Arizona. Caused by a soilborne fungus, it was discovered in California in 1990, when plants with symptoms that ranged from mild stunting to complete collapse were observed in fields near Huron, in the San Joaquin Valley. Diseased plants have severely rotted taproots.

Crop rotation. While soil fumigation can eradicate the Fusarium fungus, the authors note that reintroduction remains a significant risk and routine preplant fumigation is generally not an option for lettuce because of costs and regulatory restrictions. “Consequently, growers must rely on the attrition of inoculum that occurs naturally when nonsusceptible crops are grown instead of lettuce.”

To estimate the longevity of pathogen propagules, the researchers transported soil from a naturally infested commercial lettuce field in Arizona to establish microplots at the University of Arizona's Yuma Agricultural Center. After 6 and 12 months, the density of the Fusarium fungus had declined by 71 percent and 86 percent, respectively. After 34 months, the fungus was detectable at 0.5 percent of the starting population.

“These results imply that keeping a field free of a susceptible crop for a year should dramatically reduce the density of pathogen inoculum — provided there is no significant reproduction on weeds or a rotation crop — but that the pathogen will likely persist at a low level for at least several years,” Gordon and co-authors wrote in California Agriculture journal.

Field susceptibility. To assess the progression of Fusarium wilt under field conditions, the researchers established an infested plot on the Department of Plant Pathology’s research farm at UC Davis.

The field trials revealed significant differences between cultivars in susceptibility to Fusarium wilt. At three weeks after planting, two leaf lettuce cultivars (Lolla Rossa and Red Rossa) and three romaine cultivars (Caesar, Green Forest and King Henry) had low disease-severity ratings and appeared resistant. Two crisphead lettuce cultivars (Beacon and Early Queen) were highly susceptible, and three other crisphead cultivars (Grand Max, Kahuna and Salinas) were intermediate between these extremes.

By six weeks after planting, differences among the crisphead lettuce cultivars had largely disappeared. Although Salinas and Grand Max were more resistant to Fusarium wilt than other crisphead lettuce cultivars, their level of resistance appeared insufficient to prevent severe damage. On the other hand, leaf and romaine cultivars retained low severity ratings until the end of the season.

Air temperature. Air temperatures also played an important role in disease development. In the field trials at UC Davis, Fusarium wilt developed more rapidly in the first (June) trial than in the second (July) and third (August) trials. Air temperatures were highest during the June planting, with a mean daily high/low of 99°F/59°F. They were progressively lower during trials in July, 95°F/55°F, and August, 90°F/52°F. Additional temperature tests in controlled environment chamber confirmed a significant effect of temperature on the development of Fusarium wilt, with disease being most severe at the highest temperatures.

Genetic research. The research team has identified additional resistant romaine and red leaf cultivars and begun developing populations to determine the genetic basis of their resistance. Likewise, breeding is under way to transfer the resistance genes from highly resistant crisphead cultivars to less resistant types.

“The process is time consuming, so it will be several years before highly resistant crisphead cultivars are available,” the authors note. “In the future, highly resistant cultivars of multiple types will be available for vulnerable production areas and warm periods of the season.”

In soils infested with the Fusarium fungus, 'Caesar' lettuce was highly disease resistant.
In soils infested with the Fusarium fungus, 'Caesar' lettuce was highly disease resistant.

In soils infested with the Fusarium fungus, 'Caesar' lettuce was highly disease resistant.

Posted on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 8:40 AM
  • Author: Janet Byron

Keeping child care centers safe with integrated pest management techniques

With the early childhood eating habits of toddlers and young children, it is no surprise that preschools and child care centers often have problems with ants and cockroaches. Schools for the state’s youngest residents may also have concerns about black widow spiders, yellow jackets, mosquitos, rodents and other pests.

Many of the centers respond to the problem with pesticide sprays and foggers that could expose children and staff to residues on surfaces and in the air, a 2010 survey by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation revealed.

California’s Healthy Schools Act requires DPR to collect information about pesticide use and pest management in child care centers. The 2010 survey found that 55 percent of child care facilities use pesticides and 47 percent use foggers. One in five of the centers scheduled pesticide applications on a weekly or monthly basis, a strategy that is not recommended because applications may take place even when no pests are present.

The Healthy Schools Act also requires DPR to develop programs that encourage the facilities to voluntarily adopt integrated pest management practices, which emphasize pest monitoring, exclusion and safe treatment.

To help meet this requirement, DPR funded a Pest Management Alliance - including UC San Francisco’s School of Nursing, UC Berkeley’s Center for Children’s Environmental Research and the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program - to develop a comprehensive pest management curriculum and outreach materials. The information is designed to help the centers minimize the risk of pesticide exposure and increase their use of safer pest management alternatives. This team created a detailed checklist that preschool directors can use to identify pest problems and find safe solutions, a 39-page curriculum, and four laminated posters:

  • Steps to a pest-free indoor environment
  • Steps to a pest-free outdoor environment
  • How to choose a safer pesticide to manage pests, with pictures of the best products to use and those that should be avoided
  • Clearly illustrated instructions for reading a pesticide label

The curriculum, which is available in English and Spanish, also includes 10 “health and safety” notes that detail pest problems and IPM strategies specific to common pests, plus a health and safety note that explains “green cleaning.”

The IPM strategy for ants, which pose the most common childcare center pest problem, begins with, “Don’t spray!”

“Spraying pesticides may kill ants, but spraying will expose staff and children to harmful chemicals and doesn’t eliminate ants in their nests,” the document says. “Pesticide residues can build up indoors where children spend a lot of time.”

Instead, users are advised to keep ants out by caulking cracks around foundations, removing plants and mulch that are within 12 inches of building foundations and removing ants’ food, water and shelter opportunities inside the facility. If other action must be taken to control the pest, IPM suggests the use of baits, not sprays, and as a last resort, hiring a pest management professional.

The curriculum can be downloaded for free from UCSF’s California Childcare Health Program website,

IPM techniques make child care centers a safer place for children.
IPM techniques make child care centers a safer place for children.

Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 8:08 AM
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