- Author: Hamutahl Cohen
CDFA has recorded a second detection of Bactrocera tryoni Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) in Ventura County. This tiny but troublesome pest was found in a residential neighborhood of Thousand Oaks. CDFA considers this a major threat as it is a pest to numerous crops grown in Ventura, including citrus, avocado, peppers, tomatoes, and strawberries.
To address this issue, a quarantine has been placed within a 4.5 mile radius around the detection site and will restrict the movement of all host crops out of the designated boundary until no flies are found within 3 full life cycles. Producers of crops are allowed to move their crops outside of the quarantine area but must apply multiple treatments to their crop prior to harvest. For growers with questions, contact email@example.com. If you are a resident living within the quarantine zone, it's advisable not to share any homegrown fruit from your yard with friends and neighbors outside of your residence.
The first sighting of the Queensland Fruit Fly in California dates back to 1985 when it was first identified in San Diego. This pest has earned a notorious reputation for wreaking havoc on fruit production in its native Australian habitat, causing an estimated annual damage cost of $28.5 million to crops. While we can't be certain that this fly will establish itself as a major nuisance in our region, the importance of preventing its spread cannot be understated.
QFF has shown an ability to adapt to various environmental conditions and temperatures, making it a potential menace to our citrus crops. Once fruit fly populations take root, they become notoriously challenging to manage.
The Queensland Fruit Fly has an interesting life cycle. It's active during the day but has a peculiar preference for nighttime rendezvous when it comes to mating. Adult female flies lay multiple eggs inside a punctured fruit, which then hatch into larvae after a 2-4 day incubation period. These hungry larvae devour the fruit's flesh with sharp jaws, leading to premature decay and fruit drop. The larvae then enter the soil, pupate, and emerge from the soil as adults. Astonishingly, adult female Queensland Fruit Flies can live for many months, and in some cases, even surpass a year! While the larvae have a taste for fruit, the adult flies have an unconventional preference for leaf surface bacteria, using them as their primary source of protein.
The arrival of the Queensland Fruit Fly in Ventura County may seem like a tiny issue, but its potential impact on our local crops is quite significant.
Nanoparticles made from plant viruses
could be farmers' new ally in pest control
University of California - San Diego – Press Release
A new form of agricultural pest control could one day take root—one that treats crop infestations deep under the ground in a targeted manner with less pesticide.
Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed nanoparticles, fashioned from plant viruses, that can deliver pesticide molecules to soil depths that were previously unreachable. This advance could potentially help farmers effectively combat parasitic nematodes that plague the root zones of crops, all while minimizing costs, pesticide use and environmental toxicity.
Controlling infestations caused by root-damaging nematodes has long been a challenge in agriculture. One reason is that the types of pesticides used against nematodes tend to cling to the top layers of soil, making it tough to reach the root level where nematodes wreak havoc. As a result, farmers often resort to applying excessive amounts of pesticide, as well as water to wash pesticides down to the root zone. This can lead to contamination of soil and groundwater.
To find a more sustainable and effective solution, a team led by Nicole Steinmetz, a professor of nanoengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and founding director of the Center for Nano-ImmunoEngineering, developed plant virus nanoparticles that can transport pesticide molecules deep into the soil, precisely where they are needed. The work is detailed in a paper published in Nano Letters.
Steinmetz's team drew inspiration from nanomedicine, where nanoparticles are being created for targeted drug delivery, and adapted this concept to agriculture. This idea of repurposing and redesigning biological materials for different applications is also a focus area of the UC San Diego Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), of which Steinmetz is a co-lead.
“We're developing a precision farming approach where we're creating nanoparticles for targeted pesticide delivery,” said Steinmetz, who is the study's senior author. “This technology holds the promise of enhancing treatment effectiveness in the field without the need to increase pesticide dosage.”
The star of this approach is the tobacco mild green mosaic virus, a plant virus that has the ability to move through soil with ease. Researchers modified these virus nanoparticles, rendering them noninfectious to crops by removing their RNA. They then mixed these nanoparticles with pesticide solutions in water and heated them, creating spherical virus-like nanoparticles packed with pesticides through a simple one-pot synthesis.
This one-pot synthesis offers several advantages. First, it is cost-effective, with just a few steps and a straightforward purification process. The result is a more scalable method, paving the way toward a more affordable product for farmers, noted Steinmetz. Second, by simply packaging the pesticide inside the nanoparticles, rather than chemically binding it to the surface, this method preserves the original chemical structure of the pesticide.
“If we had used a traditional synthetic method where we link the pesticide molecules to the nanoparticles, we would have essentially created a new compound, which will need to go through a whole new registration and regulatory approval process,” said study first author Adam Caparco, a postdoctoral researcher in Steinmetz's lab. “But since we're just encapsulating the pesticide within the nanoparticles, we're not changing the active ingredient, so we won't need to get new approval for it. That could help expedite the translation of this technology to the market.”
Moreover, the tobacco mild green mosaic virus is already approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as an herbicide to control an invasive plant called the tropical soda apple. This existing approval could further streamline the path from lab to market.
The researchers conducted experiments in the lab to demonstrate the efficacy of their pesticide-packed nanoparticles. The nanoparticles were watered through columns of soil and successfully transported the pesticides to depths of at least 10 centimeters. The solutions were collected from the bottom of the soil columns and were found to contain the pesticide-packed nanoparticles. When the researchers treated nematodes with these solutions, they eliminated at least half of the population in a petri dish.
While the researchers have not yet tested the nanoparticles on nematodes lurking beneath the soil, they note that this study marks a significant step forward.
“Our technology enables pesticides meant to combat nematodes to be used in the soil,” said Caparco. “These pesticides alone cannot penetrate the soil. But with our nanoparticles, they now have soil mobility, can reach the root level, and potentially kill the nematodes.”
Future research will involve testing the nanoparticles on actual infested plants to assess their effectiveness in real-world agricultural scenarios. Steinmetz's lab will perform these follow-up studies in collaboration with the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory. Her team has also established plans for an industry partnership aimed at advancing the nanoparticles into a commercial product.
Paper title: “Delivery of Nematicides Using TMGMV-Derived Spherical Nanoparticles.” Co-authors include Ivonne Gonzalez-Gamboa, Samuel S. Hays and Jonathan K. Pokorski, UC San Diego.
This work was supported in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (grants NIFA-2020-67021-31255 and NIFA-2022-67012-36698), the National Science Foundation (CMMI 1901713) and the UC San Diego Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), which is supported by the National Science Foundation (grant DMR-2011924). This work was performed in part at the San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure (SDNI) at UC San Diego, a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (grant ECCS-1542148). This work was also performed in part at the UC San Diego Department of Neurosciences Microscopy Core, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NINDS P30NS047101).
University of California - San Diego
Invasive species are arriving in California with increasing frequency. The best time to stop them is before they arrive, and federal, state and local agencies are keeping their eyes out for new arrivals and threats on the horizon. When they do arrive, Early Detection and Rapid Response is critical to their management. Many detections are made by individuals not associated with any agency or university, and through community/participatory science programs, almost anyone can help to spot the next invasive.
The 2023 Invasive Species Lunchtime Talks all took place via Zoom Webinar from noon to 1:00 p.m. from Monday, June 5 through Friday, June 9. All of the sessions were recorded and can be viewed at https://ucanr.edu/sites/invasivelunch/2023.
You wanted to see where all those ants are coming from? Well here is the site to see what ants are where with their descriptions and images.
The ant fauna of California comprises 8 subfamilies, 44 genera and approximately 300 species (of which 30 are introduced). About 25% of the native species are endemic to the state or to the California Floristic Province (including northern Baja California and southern Oregon).
Prominent California ants include seed-harvesting species in the genera Veromessor, Pheidole and Pogonomyrmex; honeypot ants in the genus Myrmecocystus; a diverse array of species in the genera Camponotus ("carpenter ants") and Formica; native fire ants (Solenopsis spp.); velvety tree ants (Liometopum spp.); and the introduced Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). This last named species is particularly common in urban and suburban parts of California, where it establishes dense populations and eliminates most native species of ants.
This web site provides color images and identification information for most of the species of ants known to occur in California. For identification of pest ants you may find it useful to consult the key to common household ants of California developed by the UC Statewide IPM Program.
AND WAIT, THERE"S MORE - ALEX WILD'S SITE HAS EVEN MORE WONDERFUL IMAGES AND HISTORIES OF ANTS
Plus a menagerie of other Insect images - https://www.alexanderwild.com/Insects/Portfolio/
Check it out
And if you want to get down with the Argentine Ant. Don't forget the Workshop next week
David Haviland says the best Ant Costume wins free admission. Actually it's free to all who register for the meetings./span>
Santa Barbara County Coastal Gardener
This garden column provides information on home, garden and landscape problems. It was created by Frank Laemmlen Ph.D., Farm Advisor Emeritus in the Santa Barbara County Cooperative Extension Office.
The original column was in question and answer format with 1 or more questions answered in each issue. We have separated each topic and have listed them as fact sheets.
- Can You Rent a Christmas Tree
- Carpet Beetle
- Cloths Moth
- Drugstore Beetle
- Fungus Gnat
- Little Black Ant
- Oak Bark Beetle in the Home
- Patio Plants
- Sap on Table
- Spots on Rubber Plant
- Take care of Your Skin
- Attracting Hummingbirds
- Broadleaved Weed Control in Lawns
- Controlling Oxalis by Replanting
- Controlling Earthworms
- Crude Oil
- Deer Resistant-Tolerant Plants
- Fertilizing Sandy Soil
- Iron Chlorosis
- Lawn Causing Itching and Welts
- Lawn Fertilization and Watering
- Lawn Mowing Heights
- Lawn vs Tree
- Leaf Scorch on Japanese Maple
- Lillies Poisonous to Cats
- Living With Oaks
- Mosses, Alga and Slime Molds
- Mushrooms in Lawns
- Niger Seed in Bird Feed
- Poison Oak
- Propagating Willows
- Pruning Roses and Fruit Trees
- Pruning Trees to Speed Growth
- Queen Palm Problems
- Railroad Ties
- Sparse Foliage and Large Seed Crops on Birch
- Sucker Growth on Roses
- Tip Dieback on Dogwood
- Trees Made Stronger by Bending in the Wind
- Yellow Lawns
Vegetables and Fruit
- Avocado Nutrient Deficiency
- Avocado Fruit Set
- Chilling Hours
- Citrus Fruit Cracking
- Compacted Soil
- Compost and Composting
- Eucalyptus Mulch
- Fertilizing Fruit Trees
- Fertilizing Potted Plants
- Fireplace Ash
- Fruit Splitting
- Growing Avocado from Seed
- Growing a Pineapple from the Top
- Harvesting Avocados
- Harvesting Pears
- Harvesting Potatoes
- Medium for Planter Boxes
- Nectarine Problems
- Planting Trees
- Planting Vegetables
- Pollinating Squash
- Poor Seed Germination
- Pruning Avocados
- Pruning Roses and Fruit Trees
- Rehabilitation of Freeze Damaged Plants
- Root Sprouts
- Stop Olives from Bearing
- Tomato Fruit Set
- Tomato Leaves Turning Yellow
- Tomato Problems
- Walnuts Shriveled and Inedible
- Will Bird Damaged Fruit Cause West Nile Disease