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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

Posts Tagged: Integrated Pest Management

Follow pesticide labels to prevent illegal residues

A strong pesticide regulation program and pesticide applicators that follow pesticide labels can assure consumers that produce is free of pesticides and safe to eat.

As consumers, we put a lot of care into the food we buy. We tend to trust that the produce we purchase at the local grocery store is free of pesticides and safe to eat.

Traces of pesticide residue are normal and even expected after pesticides are applied to food crops, but by the time produce is ready to be sold, purchased, and consumed, residues are usually far below the legal limit.  

In its latest report from 2013, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) reported that there was little or no detectable pesticide residue in 97.8 percent of all California-grown produce. This demonstrates a strong pesticide regulation program and pesticide applicators that apply pesticides safely and legally. However, there have been instances in California where a pesticide not registered for a specific crop has been used unintentionally, resulting in illegal residues and eventually crop loss and destruction.

The Environmental Protection Agency sets tolerances for the maximum amount of pesticide residue that can legally be allowed to remain on or in food.

DPR regularly monitors domestic and imported produce for pesticide residues and is considered the most extensive state residue-monitoring program in the nation.

Following pesticide labels helps applicators avoid illegal residues.

The primary way pesticide applicators can assure that they make proper applications and avoid illegal pesticide residues is to follow the pesticide label. The UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) put together a 26-page card set in English and Spanish on understanding pesticide labels. Although intended primarily for pesticide handlers, applicators, safety trainers, and pest control advisers, these cards can be useful for anyone who applies pesticides in urban or agricultural settings. The cards explain when to read the label, describe what kind of information can be found in each section of a pesticide label, and point out specific instruction areas that will help applicators apply pesticides safely and avoid illegal pesticide residues.

To download copies of the card set in English or in Spanish, see the UC IPM web site.

Author: Cheryl Reynolds

Posted on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 10:31 AM

New videos from UC IPM help stone fruit growers and PCAs tackle pest problems

Area IPM advisor Emily Symmes teaches how to monitor for webspinning spider mites.
Spider mites, fruit moth and twig borer larvae, aphids, and bark cankers are just a few pests that can wreak havoc on stone fruit trees. With spring well underway and trees in full bloom and beginning to develop fruit, it's time to monitor and take action before these pests get out of hand.

The UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program teamed up with UC ANR farm advisors to develop a series of how-to videos that can help growers and pest control advisers monitor for pests and damage and determine if and when treatment is needed.

In one video, Sacramento Area IPM advisor Emily Symmes gives a brief overview of how to monitor for webspinning spider mites. Spider mites build up in stone fruit trees as the weather warms up. Late spring through summer is the ideal time to monitor for mites and their damage, which includes leaf stippling and webbing. If mites build up too much, leaves can drop, fruit may not fully develop, and branches and fruit can be exposed to sunburn.

Shoot strikes, or dead drooping leaf tips, are often seen on young peach and nectarine trees. In a second video, UC ANR farm advisor Janine Hasey explains how to monitor for shoot strikes and how to distinguish the culprits, Oriental fruit moth and peach twig borer. Although Oriental fruit moth and peach twig borer can bore into both foliage and fruit, they cause the most devastating damage by feeding on fruit. Early season monitoring and treatment can prevent future fruit loss.

In plum and prune orchards, leaf curl aphids and mealy plum aphids cause leaves to curl and become distorted. Aphids produce honeydew, which can lead to the development of sooty mold, causing fruit to crack and blacken. Aphids are often present when leaves start to grow. In his video, Rick Buchner, UC ANR farm advisor for Tehama County, discusses how to monitor for aphids and explains how to decide when treatment is warranted.

In a final video, UC ANR farm advisor Chuck Ingels teaches how to distinguish Phytophthora root and crown rot from bacterial canker. The two diseases are often confused because they both cause bark cankers. Phytophthora root and crown rot is confined to the lower trunk, but when a bacterial canker infection occurs in the tree trunk, the diseases can often be confused. Bacterial canker can be confirmed by cutting away the outer bark and looking for characteristic red flecks on the inner bark. Correct identification of these diseases will help in choosing a management strategy.

You can find all of these how-to videos on the UC IPM video library page. For specific information about managing pests in stone fruits or other crops, see the Pest Management Guidelines.

Posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 9:41 AM

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.

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.”

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

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