"We're really good at providing detailed information to researchers, agricultural commissioners, Cooperative Extension advisors, inspectors and border protection agents about what to look for and how to respond," said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside. "We can reach thousands of people that way."
But with Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing, "we're dealing with backyard situations, which is a whole new ballgame."
Campbell attended a conference in Davis last week focused on "Educating the public about new invasive species threatening California's plant ecosystems." Conference topics -- Huanglongbing disease, Asian citrus psyllid, light brown apple moth (LBAM), quagga and zebra mussels, European grapevine moth, sudden oak death, Japanese dodder, gold-spotted oak borer and red palm weevil -- were addressed by scientists, public officials, a public relations professional and a Sacramento Bee reporter.
"The public needs to be a partner in our efforts to respond to an invasive pest threat," said UC Davis post-doctorate researcher Margareta Lelea, who studied public reaction to LBAM treatments in Santa Cruz. "We need to figure out how we get to shared issues that the public cares about. The community has to be heard and feel like a partner in solving pest problems."
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
The greatest immediate threat may be to the homeowners of Los Angeles County, 60 percent of who have a citrus tree in their yard, said Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and research entomologist in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside and director of Lindcove Research & Extension Center.
The citrus greening bacteria probably spread from the cutting of budwood illegally brought in from outside the country, the article says Grafton-Cardwell said.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Asian citrus psyllid, which can spread the bacteria that cause the disease, is already infesting Southern California. Rachael Myrow of the California Report blogged about interviewing Mark Hoddle, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, in January about his efforts to fight the psyllid by releasing Punjabi wasps.
Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist based at UC Riverside and director of the Lindcove Research & Extension Center, has been educating backyard gardeners and commercial growers how to identify and control the insect.
Reporter Ryan Raiche covered a meeting at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Extension Center where UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Paul Vossen introduced growers to olive production and marketing and offered citrus growers the opportunity to taste a variety of olives and olive oils.
“This is not a slam dunk, because this is a really peculiar crop that needs really specific things in order to flower and fruit,” Vossen said.
Olives thrive in a dry climate where it’s not too hot and not too cold. Vossen said rain during bloom season could wipe out the crop.
Ojai man appointed to Regional Water Quality Control Board
Ventura County Star
Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed Ventura County UC Cooperative Extension director emeritus Larry Yee to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The board oversees water quality issues and has the power to fine polluters.
Yee worked for the UC Cooperative Extension from 1975 to 2008 and was the Ventura County director from 1986 to 2008. He also was director of the UC Hansen Trust, which was set up to promote agricultural research and education.
"I look forward to working with you and to hearing your ideas on priorities for research innovations, priorities in your area that need science-based solutions, and ideas on strengthening our partnership in the years to come," Allen-Diaz wrote.
Allen-Diaz said UC ANR is concerned about the impact of recent budget reductions on the number of UC ANR specialists and advisors, which is currently at its lowest number in more than 60 years.
"We are also challenged by our aging work force," she said. "We expect half of our current specialists and advisors to retire in the next six to eight years. We are carefully planning for replacing these positions, and determining the specialties and locations to best serve the needs of California. This planning must be informed by our various clienteles."
New tool to fight Asian citrus psyllid
Redlands Daily Facts
Amid dire predictions for the regional citrus industry, researchers are using another weapon: a natural enemy from the Punjab called Tamarixia radiata.
"The Asian citrus psyllid is about 1/8 inch long, and this wasp is even smaller," said Tom Shea, UC Cooperative Extension staff research associate.
Shea estimated that one female wasp may kill 300 Asian citrus psyllid nymphs in her lifetime. The psyllid itself is not a serious problem, he said, but it is a carrier for Huanlongbing, a citrus disease which has ruined much of the citrus industry in Florida. HLB has been discovered in five states, including a recent discovery in Texas. To date it has not been found in California.