- Author: Sonia Rios
Gopher Snakes (Pituophis catenifer), known as a constrictor snake, are one of the most commonly seen snakes in California. Mainly active during the day, they are active after sundown on hot days. They are often observed crawling across trails and roads, especially in the morning and evenings when daytime temperatures are high. They live in diverse habitats and are regularly seen around human residences, including suburban backyards and in agriculture commodities as they are attracted to the rodents which thrive in those areas. The gopher snakes help growers control their pest problems by preying on rodents, rabbits, and birds that would otherwise destroy or ruin crops and yields. When the weather turns hot, they hunt during the night and rest on warm rocks or pavement during the day. They hibernate during the winter and are out and about between April and October, however in Southern California because of the warm climate their presences is more consistent.
Gopher Snakes are large and heavy-bodied reptiles - reported to reach 9 feet (275 cm) in length, but 4 feet (120 cm) is more common. The underside is creamy or yellow, often with dark spots. Unfortunately, this harmless and beneficial species is very often killed out of fear that it is dangerous or that it is a rattlesnake. Since the patterns on their backs are similar to rattlesnakes and because they coil, vibrate their tails, and even strike when threatened. Other differences include: gopher snake tails taper to a thin tip and lack rattles; rattlesnake tails always have rattles (or immature buttons), unless the rattle has broken off, gopher snake heads are usually narrow, while rattlesnake heads are always triangular, and gopher snake eyes have round pupils, while rattlesnake pupils are vertical.
So, if you see a Gopher snake in your grove, its best to leave him alone so that it can contribute to your Integrated Pest Management plan.
Leafminer, sometimes Leaf Miner. It's that time of year. Those little moths come out in the late afternoon and flit about. They lay their eggs and when they hatch the larvae start burrowing through the leaf. The recent heat and also the generally warm summer have set them off. And it is obvious now. The heat has exacerbated the collapse and drying of the leaves and on older trees it looks like trees have been decorated with a sprinkling of light brownish ornaments. It is disturbing. But it's not the end of the world, like …………ACP can be.
Leafminer adults are tiny moths less than 0.12 in long (2 mm) with wings span twice as wide.
Pretty shocking from a distance
Citrus leafminer larvae feed by creating shallow tunnels, referred to as mines, in young leaves. It is most commonly found on citrus (oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruit and other varieties) and closely related trees (kumquat and calamondin). The larvae mine the lower or upper surface of the leaves causing them to curl and look distorted. Mature citrus trees (more than 4 years old) generally tolerate leaf damage without any effect on tree growth or fruit yield. Citrus leafminer is likely to cause damage in nurseries and new plantings because the growth of young trees is retarded by leafminer infestations. However, even when infestations of citrus leafminer are heavy on young trees, trees are unlikely to die. But they can sure struggle pushing new leaves that then get attacked anew.
Several years ago, we did a trial where we sprayed mature trees with leafminers every month for 18 months with a rotation of different chemicals and even the most heavily treated trees had some damage on them. The most heavily infested trees looked horrible, but in that period of time there were no lemon yield differences. Young trees treated with a systemic were able to free themselves of infestation. This has been commented on by others, that soil applied systemics on heavier soils can have problems controlling leafminers.
Photos: Tunnels and the rapidly dried leaf after a heat spell
SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have established a 94-square mile quarantine in portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties following the detection of the citrus disease huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, in a single citrus tree in the city of Riverside. HLB is a deadly disease of citrus plants and closely related species, and can be transmitted from tree to tree by the Asian citrus psyllid.
The quarantine boundaries are on the north, Interstate 10; on the east, Box Springs Mountain Reserve; on the west, Riverside Municipal Airport; and on the south, East Alessandro Boulevard. HLB quarantine maps for Riverside and San Bernardino counties are available online at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/pe/InteriorExclusion/hlb_quarantine.html. Please check this link for future quarantine expansions in these counties, should they occur. Quarantines are already in place for HLB in portions of Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The quarantine will prohibit the movement of all citrus nursery stock out of the area, while maintaining existing provisions allowing the movement of only commercially cleaned and packed citrus fruit. Any fruit that is not commercially cleaned and packed, including residential citrus, must not be removed from the property on which it is grown, although it may be processed and/or consumed on the premises.
Residents are urged to take several steps to help protect citrus trees:
- Do not move citrus plants, leaves or foliage into or out of the quarantine area, or across state or international borders. Keep it local.
- Cooperate with agricultural crews placing traps, inspecting trees and treating for the pest.
- If you no longer wish to care for your citrus tree, consider removing it so it does not become a host to the pest and disease.
CDFA crews have already removed the infected tree and are in the midst of a treatment program for citrus trees to knock down Asian citrus psyllid infestations within 800 meters of the find site. By taking these steps, a critical reservoir of the disease and its vectors will be removed, which is essential to protect the surrounding citrus from this deadly disease.
HLB is a bacterial disease that attacks the vascular system of plants. It does not pose a threat to humans or animals. The Asian citrus psyllid can spread the bacteria as the pest feeds on citrus trees and other plants. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure; it typically declines and dies within a few years.
CDFA, in partnership with the USDA, local county agricultural commissioners and the citrus industry, continues to pursue a strategy of controlling the spread of the Asian citrus psyllids while researchers work to find a cure for the disease.
—California Department of Food and Agriculture
Over 20 new trees in Southern California have been confirmed HLB-positive. The new finds raise the total number of trees with huanglongbing disease found in California to around 100. All of the trees found in the state have been located in residential areas.
The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP) issued a press release that stated 21 trees in Anaheim, and four trees in Pico Rivera tested HLB-positive. The CPDPP, a program of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), stated the current quarantine in Southern California would be slightly expanded in Orange and Los Angeles Counties.
The new detections were found due to intensive surveying that's part of the response program. Highly trained crews sample trees where HLB-positive Asian citrus psyllids have been found. CDFA says their Sacramento facility can process 10,000 samples a month.
All of the detections in California have been residential trees. The CPDPP is currently running an outreach program that involves public service announcements, coordination with officials, and large public events in the quarantine area. The goal is to educate residents on the disease and the insect that spreads it. Go to the CPDPP website to find out more about the disease, insect, and quarantines.
Photo: HLB symptoms
SACRAMENTO — A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the Oriental fruit fly following the detection of nine flies in the Hollywood area. The quarantine zone measures 75 square miles. A link to the quarantine map may be found here:https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/off/regulation.html
“California's fruit fly season extends from late summer through the fall,” said California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross. “These pests like Southern California for some of the same reasons other travelers do: the pleasant climate and the tremendous variety of food. Fortunately, with the help of local residents, we have a great track record of eradicating these infestations.”
To prevent the spread of fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in the fruit fly quarantine area are urged to not move any fruits or vegetables from their property. Produce may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where it was picked.
The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions around the world or from packages sent to California. To help prevent infestations statewide, officials asks residents to refrain from bringing or mailing fresh fruit, vegetables, plants, and soil into California unless agricultural inspectors have cleared the shipment beforehand.
While fruit flies and other invasive species threaten California's crops, the vast majority of them are detected in urban and suburban areas.
“That's why it's important for residents to cooperate with quarantine restrictions and allow authorized agricultural workers access to properties to inspect fruit and oriental fruit fly traps for signs of an infestation,” said Secretary Ross.
Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) uses a “male attractant” technique in its eradication effort for this pest. This approach, which has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations in California, significantly reduces the amount of insecticide required to eradicate the population, and only targets the fruit flies – no other insects or animals are harmed. The treatment program is being carried out over several square miles surrounding the sites where the oriental fruit flies were trapped.
The oriental fruit fly is known to target more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and plants. Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots and tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.
The oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of Southern Asia and neighboring islands including Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and has invaded other areas, most notably Africa and Hawaii.
Residents with questions about the quarantine may call the CDFA Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.
—California Department of Food and Agriculture
Photos: OFF adults and Grapefruit infested with larvae of oriental fruit fly, Dacus dorsalis.
This is a post from BBC:
From fashion to energy - the rind and seeds of Sicily's most famous citrus fruit, the humble orange, are being used in a range of greener, healthier business initiatives.
In 2011, Adriana Santonocito was a design student in Milan when she first had the idea of making sustainable textiles from what was naturally abundant, and widely wasted, in her native Sicilian city of Catania.
Her challenge was to find a way for the rinds of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of oranges to be put to good use.
Now, thanks to her creative thinking, it is possible to make whole items of clothing using fibre that originated from the fruit.
Ms Santonocito's concept was inspired by a question posed in her university dissertation. Could a luxurious silk foulard be made from citrus by-products, that would otherwise be thrown away or fed to cattle? Fiber uses chemical reagents to separate the cellulose from the orange remains
The question was particularly relevant in Sicily, where many thousands of tonnes of citrus fruit are juiced every year, leaving massive amounts of waste.
The 39-year-old found her answer in the university's labs, and it earned her a patent.
It was already known that cellulose could be extracted from orange rinds. But Ms Santonocito discovered that, using chemical reagents, it could then be turned into yarn, which could be dyed and blended with other textiles, such as cotton or polyester.
Together with her university colleague Enrica Arena, she founded Orange Fiber in 2014, and set about selling the silk-like material to clothes-makers. head up a 12-strong team
This year, the famous Italian fashion label Salvatore Ferragamo used it in its spring-summer collection. The aim was to make its high-end shirts, dresses and foulards more sustainable.
Orange Fiber, which now has a team of 12 people, operates from a local juice-processing plant, where it gets its waste material for free.
The business is partially seasonal, operating during the months of the year when the juice-maker works. But once the orange rind has been transformed into cellulose, it can be put in storage for use later.
Antonio Perdichizzi, an early investor in Orange Fiber, says the firm stood out to him because, unlike most innovative start-ups in Italy, it isn't digital.
Fiber uses the rinds of juiced oranges
"Italy doesn't invest much in innovation, but brilliant ideas and skills win despite a lack of resources," he adds.
Rosario Faraci, a professor of business, economics and management at the University of Catania, says the firm is an example of how "creativity and entrepreneurial spirit" is creating new jobs and businesses in the region.
Fibre - not fat
Oranges could also make baked goods healthier, and stay fresher, thanks to a new procedure which transforms them into an innovative fat-free flour.
The new technique is currently being tested at the University of Catania and results are encouraging.
At the moment, almost all bakers use fat, such as butter or margarine in their cooking.
But according to the research, half of this fat could be replaced by using flour obtained from orange rinds, seeds, and part of the pulp not used in juice-making. near Catania, liked the new flour
Like Orange Fiber, the researchers obtain the raw materials they need from local juice makers. They wash the rinds to remove the bitter flavour, then dry, process and whiten what remains.
Salvatore Barbagallo, a professor of agriculture at the University of Catania, says the flour is "perfectly sustainable" and costs almost nothing to produce. It also has "no impact" on the taste and fragrance of food that contains it.
His researchers made 300kg of the flour and got local bakers in Acireale, near Catania, to try it out.
The cooks, known for being conservative about new ingredients, were all happy with the results and could taste no difference in their pastries. The new flour is soluble
The researchers say they have found other uses for the flour, too.
It is soluble and can be added to drinks to provide health benefits. It could also be used by nutritionists and in medicine.
Sicilian farmers have always used orange rinds as animal feed or fertiliser. But oranges can be a precious source of energy as well.
In Mussomeli, an ancient town near Caltanissetta in the middle of Sicily, orange waste products are used to make biogas which is turned into electricity.
The farm Nuova Scala used about 16,430 tonnes of rinds last year to produce 24,000 kWh of electricity.
Output varies depending on the amount of oranges produced, and the firm expects to get through 22,000 tonnes of orange waste in 2017.Disposing of oranges after they have been juiced can be expensive
Of course, all of these projects depend on local fruit companies, which produce many thousands of tonnes of citrus by-products annually.
Salvatore Imbesi, who owns the producer AgrumiGel, says the rinds, seeds and other non-edible parts of the fruit are called "pastazzo", and he produces about 40,000 tonnes of it a year.
He says Sicily as a whole produces about 200,000 tonnes, although unofficial estimates suggest the real figure could be higher.
Producers have an incentive to re-use pastazzo, because disposal can be expensive. Mr Imbesi says that in Sicily the total cost of disposal can reach 16m euros every year, "six for the cost of the transport, and 10 for the disposal itself".
Some of Sicily's fruit is sold fresh, including its famous blood oranges, with the rest turned into juices.
In 2016, the amount juiced included some 140,000 tonnes of lemons, 100,000 tonnes of blonde oranges, 100,000 tonnes of blood oranges, 20,000 tonnes of green mandarins and 20,000 tonnes of matured mandarins.
Finally, thanks to the new crop of innovative solutions, the squeezed fruit are being turned from expensive waste into exciting products.