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Posts Tagged: Michael Parrella

Congratulations, Mary Lou!

Former UC Davis Chancellor James Meyer
Former UC Davis Chancellor James Henry Meyer (1922-2002) would have been proud.

His daughter-in-law, Mary Louise “Mary Lou” Flint, a longtime leader of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) Program and a newly retired Extension entomologist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will be honored at a dinner on Dec. 1 as the recipient of the 2014 James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions to the university.  

The event will take place at 6 p.m., in Ballrooms B and C of the UC Davis Conference Center.  Reservations may be made by contacting UC Davis Special Events at (530) 754-2262 by Nov. 24.

Flint, UC IPM's associate director for Urban and Community IPM, and who retired at the end of June, is the third entomologist (Frank Zalom, 2004, and Thomas Leigh, 1988) to receive the Academic Federation award, first presented in 1971.

Her father-in-law, who served as chancellor from 1969 to 1987, during the university's greatest period of growth and change, strongly supported the Academic Federation and the Cooperative Extension Specialists, Agricultural Experiment Station researchers and other non-Senate academics it represents, Flint said.  

Mary Lou Flint was instrumental in publishing and distributing trapping guidelines for the walnut twig beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, nominated Flint for the award. “Her name is synonymous with IPM, pest control alternatives, and public service, not just in California and the United States, but worldwide,” he wrote in his letter of nomination.

Parrella said that Flint “has been heavily involved in the leadership, creativity and the success of UC IPM Program since 1983 and is UC IPM's longest-tenured employee. Also since 1983, she has served as an Extension entomologist in our department and we are proud of her innovative ideas, dedication, commitment and accomplishments. Dr. Flint is truly an outstanding leader and visionary who has initiated, conducted and established research, educational and outreach programs that we sometimes take for granted. She advances IPM practices that are economical, environmentally friendly and health conscious.”

Wrote UC IPM Director Kassim Al-Khatib:  “Dr. Flint has initiated, conducted, and established an outstanding and well respected IPM research and outreach program for urban and community. Many of her programs and findings have significant impact on pest management in California. She is a talented, capable specialist and good communicator to the IPM end-user.”  Globally, the UC IPM program is considered the gold standard of IPM. 

Flint received her bachelor's degree in plant sciences in 1972 from UC Davis, and her doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley in 1979. “We are fortunate that she chose to spend her career here at UC Davis,” Parrella said.

Among her accomplishments:

  • Created, wrote or edited and oversaw the development of the UC IPM's IPM Manual series of books from 1980-2007; this series includes IPM manuals on 15 different agricultural crops or crop groups. More than 100,000 copies of these books have been sold worldwide.
  • Oversaw the development and creation of the online UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines from 1987-2007. This series included 43-crop specific PMGs featuring hundreds of pests and thousands of photographs and authored by UC experts around the state and updated regularly. Flint served as technical editor. She developed many online tools associated with the PMGs such as the Natural Enemies Gallery and the Weed Galleries.
  • Established the UC IPM Pest Note series for home, garden, landscape and urban audiences. This series covers more than 165 pests. About 12,000 people a day access these publications on the UC IPM Home and Garden website.
  • Authored several important books on IPM including Pests of the Garden and Small Farm, IPM in Practice: Principles and Methods of IPM and The Natural Enemies Handbook. She developed the Pesticide Compendium series along with Patrick O'Connor Marer.
  • Created some of the earliest interactive learning tools of IPM, including the 1996 CD-ROM Solving Garden Problems: A University of California Interactive Guide and The UC Interactive Tutorial for Biological Control of Insects and Mites (an interactive CD-ROM, Publication 3412). She and her colleagues also created some of the first online training materials for IPM with online training programs for retail nursery and garden center personnel. The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns on the UC IPM website is another key accomplishment. UC IPM takes its 16 portable UC IPM Touch Screen IPM kiosks to hundreds of retail stores and community events. More recently, Flint has been heavily involved in creating YouTube videos on the UC IPM channel and disseminating information through other electronic and social media.
  • Developed hands-on, train-the-trainer programs for UC Master Gardeners, retail nursery personnel and landscape professionals that have resulted in the delivery of information to far more people than would be possible through conventional training meetings. Among the topics: biological control, pesticides and landscape pest identificatio

Lately Flint has been involved with the thousand cankers disease, caused by the walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis, in association with the fungus, Geosmithia morbida. The disease kills walnut trees, especially black walnuts. She continues to work on the project with research entomologist Steven J. Seybold of the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, and other scientists.

Seybold, an affiliate of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, said that on a national level, Flint was "instrumental in facilitating the rapid processing and release of the national trapping guidelines for the walnut twig beetle."

"Once our team had discovered the aggregation pheromone of this beetle and had demonstrated its value in trapping the insect in California, Mary Louise assisted us with the preparation and dissemination of useful trapping guidelines, which have been employed by state pest regulatory officials and detection entomologists throughout the country.”

Widely honored by her peers, Flint received the 2002 Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for Integrated Pest Management from the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists; a 2003 IPM Innovator Award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation as part of the Sacramento Water Wise Pest Control Program; a 2003 resolution from the Sacramento City Council honoring her for contributions to the Sacramento Water Wise Program; a 2004 Environmental Services Award from the San Francisco Department of the Environment; and an international IPM Award of Recognition, “Grower Incentives Team Project,” at the 2009 International IPM Symposium in Portland, Ore.

Flint is not only the third entomologist to receive the award, but the third IPM specialist.  Frank Zalom, a distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, directed the UC IPM Program for 16 years (1988-2001). He is currently serving as president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America.  Thomas Leigh (1923-1993) stood at the forefront of integrated pest management of cotton pests, according to an article in the summer 1994 edition of American Entomologist. He taught courses on cotton IPM and host plant resistance.

Mary Lou Flint outside her new office at Briggs Hall. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Mary Lou Flint outside her new office at Briggs Hall. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Mary Lou Flint outside her new office at Briggs Hall. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, November 7, 2014 at 9:08 PM

Medflies: Permanent Residents

James R. Carey in front of a California map. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Breaking news shook the agricultural world today.

The Mediterranean fruit fly, considered the world's worst agricultural pest, is one of at least five fruit flies established in California. It cannot be eradicated.

So says entomologist James Carey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who has been dogging medflies since his faculty appointment in 1980. (See what drove him.)

Carey and UC Davis-affiliated colleagues Nikos Papadopoulos and Richard Plant wrote the eye-opening research piece, "From Trickle to Flood: The Large Scale, Cryptic Invasion of California by Tropical Fruit Flies" in the current edition of the renowned Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Their work "clearly demonstrates that at least five and as many as nine species of tropical fruit flies, including the infamous Medfly, are permanently established in California and inexorably spreading, despite more than 30 years of intervention and nearly 300 state-sponsored eradication programs aimed at the flies," wrote Pat Bailey in a UC Davis News Service story released today. 

The findings, Bailey pointed out, have "significant implications for how government agencies develop policies to successfully manage pests that pose a threat to California's $43.5 billion agricultural industry."

Carey, an international authority on fruit-fly invasion biology, told her that "Despite due diligence, quick responses, and massive expenditures to prevent entry and establishment of these insects, virtually all of the fruit-fly species targeted by eradication projects have been reappearing in the same locations — several of them annually — and gradually spreading in the state."

Carey, Papadopoulos and Plant detailed the problem in the opening paragraph of their meticulously researched paper: "Since 1954 when the first tropical tephritid fruitfly was detected in California, a total of 17 species in four genera and 11,386 individuals (adults/larvae) have been detected in the state at more than 3348 locations in 330 cities." That's three out of four California cities.

Frank Zalom, incoming ESA president. (Photo by Kathy Garvey)
Among those who weighed in on the research paper: 

Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology: "The study has dramatic implications for California agriculture and the state’s international trading partners, and speaks to the urgent need to alter current eradication policies aimed at invasive species."

Frank Zalom, UC Davis entomology professor and incoming president of the 6500-member Entomological Society of America: “This study deserves serious consideration, and I hope that it helps lead to new discussions on a long-term approach for dealing with fruit flies and similar exotic pests by the United States and international regulatory authorities."

Former UC Davis chancellor Ted Hullar (1987-1994), one of the first to believe in "the science" that Carey presented, said:  “From our first conversation, Jim struck me as a serious-minded guy, with strong ideas and clear focus, pursuing his insights and beliefs no matter the struggle. Good science and progress comes from that, making new paths in tough terrain, believing in the power of journey, as well as goal.”

Former UC Davis Chancellor Ted Hullar
The Medfly, smaller than a house fly, was first detected in California in 1975. It's considered the world's worst agricultural insect pest due to its wide distribution, wide range of hosts (its larvae infest more than 260 fruits and vegetables), and its ability to tolerate cool climates. 

The Medfly prefers such thin-skinned hosts as peach, nectarine, apricot, avocado, grapefruit, orange, and cherry. The female may lay one to 10 eggs per fruit or as many as 22 eggs per day. She may lay up to 800 eggs during her lifetime, but usually about 300. 

We remember when the Medfly wreaked economic havoc in the Solano County city of Dixon in September 2007. We were there.

At the time, Carey told us that "this may be just one of many isolated pockets of medfly infestations in California. This is really serious because the invasion process is so insidious."

The Medfly has been multiplying and spreading undetected--like cancer--for years, he said.  "It may be a symptom of a much larger problem. But any way you look at it, this is the first really big outbreak in the Central Valley."

CDFA set up a command center at the Dixon May Fair and imposed a 114-mile radius quarantine of fruits, vegetables and nuts. Dixon was deep in the throes of tomato and walnut harvesting. The owner of a 65-acre organic produce farm that ships to 800 clients worried  that he might lose $10,000 a week in potential sales.

Among the actions that the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) took at the onset:

  • Stripped all fruit from trees within a 100-meter radius of all Medfly finds
  • Ground-sprayed the organic compound Naturalyte (the active ingredient is Spinosad, a naturally occurring product of a soil bacteria) within a 200-meter radius of all Medfly finds
  • Set 1,700 fruit fly traps within an 81-square mile grid in all of Dixon and the surrounding area from near the Yolo County border to Midway Road
  • Began aerially releasing 1.5 million sterile male medflies (dyed pink for easy detection) over a 12-square mile area on Sept. 14, with weekly releases of 3 million medflies scheduled for at least nine months
  • Set up a yearlong command center, with four portable buildings and a task force of 25, on the Dixon May Fair grounds

Fast forward to today. Now that the Medfly has been declared a "permanent resident," what's next?

Carey agrees that “CDFA needs to continue to respond to outbreaks as they occur, but he advocates long-term planning based on “the science” that the insects are established. This includes heightened monitoring levels for the agriculturally rich Central Valley, an economic impact study, risk management/crop insurance, cropping strategies, fly fee zones/post harvest treatments, emergency/crisis planning, genetic analysis and a National Fruit Fly Program.

“Inasmuch as the Mediterranean, Mexican, Oriental, melon, guava and peach fruit flies have all been detected in the Central Valley, monitoring this incredibly important agricultural region should be increased by 5 to 10-fold in order to intervene and suppress populations and thus slow the spread,” Carey says.

“These pests cannot be wished away or legislated out of existence. Policymakers need to come to grips with this sobering reality of multiple species permanently established in our state in order to come up with a long-term, science-based policy for protecting agriculture in our state.”

(See James Carey's website for links to his work on fruit fly invasion.)

Mediterranean Fruit Fly. (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark)
Mediterranean Fruit Fly. (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark)

Mediterranean Fruit Fly. (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark)

Bugs Will Rule at UC Davis Picnic Day

Ladybugs will be given away to children visiting Briggs Hall. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
There's no doubt about it.

Bugs will rule at the 99th annual UC Davis Picnic Day this Saturday, April 20. 

The UC Davis Department of Entomology is planning lots of "bug" activities as part of the campuswide celebration. 

Visitors to Briggs Hall and the Bohart Museum of Entomology will find much to do and see from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, coordinator of the department’s Picnic Day activities, says there will be cockroach races, termite trails, ant colonies, Maggot Art, face-painting, fly-tying, honey tasting, T-shirt sales, and much, much more at Briggs Hall.

Briggs is located off Kleiber Hall drive, near the campus police and fire stations, while the Bohart Museum is in Room 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Lane.

The Bohart Museum,  home of nearly eight million insect specimens, will feature wasp nests in its new display case. Displayed will be nests once occupied by European paper wasps, yellow jackets, carpenter bees and bumble bees. The Bohart also will include a live “petting zoo” where visitors can hold Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a rose-haired tarantula, and walking sticks. Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, directs the Bohart Museum.

At Briggs, you can also expect to see forensic, medical, aquatic, apiculture, and forest entomology displays, as well as a honey of a honey tasting.   In the courtyard, Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen will share six varieties of honey: manzanita, lima bean, pomegranate, almond blossom, orange blossom, and Northern desert shrub Nevada), a reddish honey. In Room 122, staff research associate/beekeeper Billy Synk of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility will provide a bee observation hive.

One of the most popular activities at Briggs is Maggot Art, a term trademarked by forensic entomologist Rebecca O’Flaherty, a former doctoral candidate in entomology at UC Davis. This involves dipping a maggot in non-toxic, water-based paint. “Artists”  pick up a maggot with special forceps, dip it in the paint and then let it crawl on white paper. O’Flaherty launched Maggot Art in 2001 at the University of Hawaii as a community outreach project when she was teaching entomology to youths.

The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) will set up its traditional  display in front of Briggs Hall where visitors can learn about managing pests in their homes and garden.  In addition, UC IPM will give away live lady beetles (aka ladybugs) to children.

Plans at Briggs Hall also call for a “Bug Doctor” to answer insect-related questions. The doctor is in! Last year’s “Bug Doctors” included Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.

So, bugs will rule! 

Briggs Hall is a popular place to be on UC Davis Picnic Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Briggs Hall is a popular place to be on UC Davis Picnic Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Briggs Hall is a popular place to be on UC Davis Picnic Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Visitors will flock to the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Visitors will flock to the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Visitors will flock to the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Principal editor/entomologist Steve Dreistadt of UC IPM explains insects to visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Principal editor/entomologist Steve Dreistadt of UC IPM explains insects to visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Principal editor/entomologist Steve Dreistadt of UC IPM explains insects to visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 9:41 PM

UC Davis Alum and the Pathogens

Kelli Hoover
It will be like "old home week" when professor Kelli Hoover of Pennsylvania State University presents a seminar on Tuesday, March 5 on the UC Davis campus.

Hoover, who received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1997, will discuss “Co-Evolution in a Host Baculovirus System” from noon to 1 p.m. in 366 Briggs Hall.

She will be in California in conjunction with her trip to Ventura to participate in the Gordon Research Conference,  an international forum for the presentation and discussion of frontier research in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences, and their related technologies.

“The gypsy moth has a long co-evolutionary history with its host specific baculovirus, Lymantria dispar NPV,” Hoover said. “As a result, the gypsy moth has evolved counter-defenses against the virus, while in return the virus has strategies for increasing its own fitness at the expense of the host. For example, anti-viral defenses include apoptosis of infected cells (despite viral inhibitor of apoptosis genes), while the virus manipulates host behavior to enhance transmission to new hosts, which is an example of the extended phenotype.”

Female adult gypsy moth. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Hosts are Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor of entomology; Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and researcher George Kamita of the Hammock lab.

While a grad student at UC Davis, Hoover studied with  major professors Bruce Hammock and Sean Duffey (1943-1997). After a one-year postdoctoral position at UC Berkeley, she joined the faculty of the Penn State University Department of Entomology in 1998.

Her research program at Penn State focuses on invasive species, including development of trapping techniques for the Asian longhorned beetle; gut microbial symbionts of the Asian longhorned beetle and hemlock woolly adelgid; functions of key viral genes in transmission of the gypsy moth baculovirus and anti-viral defenses; and biological control of hemlock woolly adelgid.

Hoover is the lead author of the highly acclaimed research, “A Gene for an Extended Phenotype,” published Sept. 9, 2011 in Science. It was selected for the Faculty of 1000 (F1000), which places her work in its library of the top 2 percent of published articles in biology and medicine.

Kelli Hoover of Penn State chats with Kevin Heinz (center) of Texas A&M and Bruce Hammock of UC Davis at a meeting of the Entomological Society of America. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Kelli Hoover of Penn State chats with Kevin Heinz (center) of Texas A&M and Bruce Hammock of UC Davis at a meeting of the Entomological Society of America. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Kelli Hoover of Penn State chats with Kevin Heinz (center) of Texas A&M and Bruce Hammock of UC Davis at a meeting of the Entomological Society of America. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Kelli Hoover (front center) received her doctorate from the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1997. She's shown here in 1993 with (from left) major prin 19ofessor Sean Duffey (1943-1997), Billy McCutchen and Bryony Bonning. (Courtesy Photo)
Kelli Hoover (front center) received her doctorate from the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1997. She's shown here in 1993 with (from left) major prin 19ofessor Sean Duffey (1943-1997), Billy McCutchen and Bryony Bonning. (Courtesy Photo)

Kelli Hoover (front center) received her doctorate from the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1997. She's shown here in 1993 with (from left) major professor Sean Duffey (1943-1997), Billy McCutchen and Bryony Bonning. (Courtesy Photo)

Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Our Man (Entomologist) in Washington

Frank Zalom in strawberry field in Watsonville.
It's going to be a busy year for UC Davis integrated pest management specialist/professor Frank Zalom.

Make that several years.

Zalom, who just completed a year as the vice president-elect of the 6000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA), was installed as vice president of the organization at its meeting last month in Knoxville, Tenn. and is in line for the presidency.

So, his ESA commitment totals four years: first as vice president-elect, then as the vice president, then as president, and finally, past president. Each is a one-year term.

ESA, founded in 1889 and now headquartered in Lanham, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C., draws members from all over the world. They're primarily in educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government.  

Zalom will be the second UC Davis entomologist to serve as ESA president. The first was Donald McLean, who held the top ESA office in 1986. Now an emeritus professor, McLean chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology from 1974 to 1979 and served as dean of the Division of Biological Sciences from 1979 to 1986. 

As ESA's new VP, Frank Zalom is already assuming a myriad of duties. He participated in the 2012 Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) conference held Dec. 8-10 in Washington, D.C.

ESA president Robert Wiedenmann, professor and head of the University of Arkansas Department of Entomology, and Zalom represented ESA at the meeting. The Council membership is comprised of presidents, presidents-elect and recent past presidents representing some 60 scientific federations and societies. The combined membership totals more than 1.4 million scientists and science educators. 

Among the many speakers were Paula Apsell, senior executive producer of NOVA-TV, who led a discussion on “Building Pubic Appreciation for Science”; Ian Shipsey, physics professor at Purdue University, who spoke on “Higgs Boson: How It Imparts Mass”; Lori Garver of NASA, “Mars and Beyond—Exploring the Endless Frontiers”; and Millie Dresselhaus, professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Nanoscale Carbon Electron-Phonon Interaction.” Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering, keynoted the awards banquet on Dec. 9.

The CSSP contingent also met for a breakfast on Capitol Hill, interacting with congressional leaders, including chiefs of staff and senators.

According to a CSSP brochure, “The Council regularly develops national policy coordination recommended by its committees on issues of importance to the scientific community.” 

Among those issues are science and mathematics education; university-based research; federal research and education budget; responsible conduct of science; merit review of federally supported science; unimpeded exchange of scientific information; magnifying public science literary; research on teaching and learning; and directions for 21st century science.

Now the ESA governing board is gearing up for its 61st annual meeting, set Nov. 10-13, 2013 (initially set for Nov. 17-20) in Austin, Texas.  Also on the governing board from UC Davis is Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology, who represents the ESA's Pacific Branch.

Theme of the 61st annual meeting? “Science Impacting a Connected World.”

ESA vice president Frank Zalom (far right) of UC Davis with ESA president Robert Wiedenmann (far left) of the University of Arkansas, and Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). (Photo courtesy of ESA)
ESA vice president Frank Zalom (far right) of UC Davis with ESA president Robert Wiedenmann (far left) of the University of Arkansas, and Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). (Photo courtesy of ESA)

ESA vice president Frank Zalom (far right) of UC Davis with ESA president Robert Wiedenmann (far left) of the University of Arkansas, and Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). (Photo courtesy of ESA)

Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:19 PM

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