- Author: Lisa A Blecker, coordinator for the UC Pesticide Safety Education Program and Office of Pesticide Information and Coordination
- Author: Whitney Brim-DeForest, UC Cooperative Extension rice advisor in Sutter and Yuba counties
- Author: Katrina Hunter, UC Integrated Pest Management Program pesticide safety writer
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice, UC ANR Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach
While most Californians are staying home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, California farmers, farmworkers and other agricultural professionals are out in the fields and packing houses working to produce food.
With increased demand for personal protective equipment, or PPE, to protect against COVID-19, these essential workers are facing shortages. Agricultural commissioners in 28 counties are hearing from farmers who are having trouble getting PPE for their employees and farmers in another 11 counties who are worried about running out of PPE in the next month or twoaccording to a California Department of Pesticide Regulation survey.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, workers may wear homemade face coverings, but for applying pesticides, they must wear respirators specified on the pesticide product label, said Whitney Brim-DeForest, UC Cooperative Extension rice advisor.
Pesticide applicators may use gear that is more protective than required by the product label and regulations.
“Although this could change in the days ahead, half-mask and full-mask respirators are more available than disposable N95 respirators for now,” said Lisa Blecker, coordinator for the UC Pesticide Safety Education Program.
Before the pandemic, 10% of N95 respirators from 3M went to health care, but that number is now 90%, the company said in a letter to distributors. This has led to significant backorders of PPE supplies for distributors.
Carl Atwell, president of Gempler's, an online distributor of worker supplies, said that before the crisis, normal lead times for PPE was up to 10 days. He estimated disposable respirators will become available in the fall and other PPE supplies in August.
In the meantime, there is alternative PPE that agricultural professionals can use during the shortage.
Atwell suggests looking for lesser known brands of PPE as opposed to the first tier of choice: “It's sort of like searching for Purell hand sanitizer. Purell brand might be out of stock, but can you find a different disinfectant?
On Gempler's website, the more recognizable Tyvek coverall from Dupont is sold out, however disposable protective clothing is available from other brands. Reusable chemical-resistant clothing is also available as opposed to their disposable counterparts. Supplies in high demand are reusable and disposable nitrile gloves, protective clothing, disposable respirators and certain protective eyewear, such as goggles and face shields.
For workers who will be applying pesticides, Blecker and Brim-DeForest offered some guidelines on how to meet PPE requirements as the shortage continues.
General PPE requirements: “Remember, the label is the law,” said Brim-DeForest. “PPE requirements for agriculture are not being loosened.” The UCCE advisor recommends purchasing only what you need for the season and choosing reusable PPE whenever possible. Growers who have excess supplies of PPE can coordinate with their county agricultural commissioner or UCCE advisor to help other producers in their area.
Respirators: If you can't find the respirator required on the label, Blecker said, “Use an alternative, more-protective respirator. For example, if an N95 is required, you can use a half-mask with N95 particulate filters; these can be stand-alone filters or ones that attach to an organic vapor cartridge. You could also use a different pesticide that doesn't require a respirator. Consult with your PCA (pest control adviser) for options.”
Gloves: Chemical-resistant gloves, usually 14 mil or more in thickness are required for most California pesticide applications and should be worn by mixers, handlers and applicators. If nitrile gloves are not available, viton and laminate gloves are universal chemical-resistant materials for most pesticide labels. If the glove material is specified on the label, that instruction must be followed.
“Disposable gloves less than 14 mil can be worn, but not for more than 15 minutes at a time,” Blecker said. “Farmers should also note that thinner gloves cannot be layered on top of one another.”
Coveralls: Coveralls should be worn when required by the pesticide label or when the signal word is “WARNING” or “DANGER,” or when applying by backpack or airblast. “Coveralls can be made out of high-density polyethylene fibers (Tyvek and other brands), which are disposable, or cotton, which are reusable,” Brim-DeForest said. “If reusable coveralls are worn, the employer must ensure employees are provided clean coveralls.”
Goggles/face shields: Face shields are required for mixing and loading pesticides only if it's stated on the label. “If a face shield is unavailable, a full-face respirator can be used,” Blecker said. “Goggles or protective eyewear should always be worn in California when handling pesticides, regardless of what the label says. The face shield, goggles or safety glasses must provide front, side and brow protection and meet the American National Standards Institute Z87.1 standard for impact resistance.
For more information about PPE, contact your county agricultural commissioner or see the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's posters:
- Author: Karen Giovannini
We are pleased to share our 2019 Annual Report available in two formats! We have our print version and are excited to present our story map version!
Special thanks to Michelle Nozzari for putting together the story map version and Deborah Curle for the print version.
The spotted lanternfly (SLF) is a new invasive pest that has recently arrived in the United States. This planthopper has a wide host range of 70+ plant species including grapevines, apple, cherries, stone fruits, ornamentals, etc… with its preferred host being the tree of heaven. SLF lays their eggs on inanimate objects such as railway cars, outdoor furniture, stones, wood pallets, and vehicles which aids in their ability for wide dispersal.
Early detection is key to keeping the spotted lanternfly our of Sonoma county. Everyone, including growers, PCAs, field workers, and home gardeners can play an important role in keeping the spotted lanternfly out of California by being the eyes and ears needed for early detection. Take the time to become aware of how to identify this new exotic pest and report any suspected sightings to your local Agricultural Commissioner's office right away.
Together we can help keep the spotted lanternfly out of California!/span>
- Author: Karen Giovannini
We are pleased to welcome Cindy Kron, PhD as our Area Wide IPM Advisor for Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties.
Cindy has conducted research on a variety of insects including:
- two-year vineyard study on the population dynamics of Virginia creeper leafhopper, western grape leafhopper, and variegated leafhopper
- dissertation research projects investigating the biology and behavior of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper and their relationship with vineyards
- the effects of temperature on the developmental rate of the invasive European grapevine moth
- rearing brown marmorated stink bugs for USDA fumigation studies
Between UC Davis and UCCE, Cindy continued her study of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper as a Research Entomologist for USDA in their Crop Disease, Pests, and Genetics research unit. She tested additional cover crop species as feeding and reproductive hosts of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper in addition to testing commercially available biocontrol agents against the different life stages of the treehopper. She collaborated with a UC Davis colleague to create a degree day model that predicts the ideal timing to implement cultural control measures with the greatest impact on treehopper populations.
“My experiences have motivated me to help growers, stakeholders, and the industry solve agricultural pest management problems through applied research by identifying IPM strategies and tactics that are economically feasible and implementable while having the lowest environmental impact.”
When she is not working with insects, Cindy loves wine tasting, gardening, cooking and canning. She's come to the right place for ALL of that.
Welcome to Wine Country, Dr. Cindy Kron!
- Author: Lucia G. Varela
Want to know what bug is making holes in the leaves of you shrub or eating your fruit? Or what is the pesky weed you cannot get rid off? The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources publications have four sets of Pest Identification cards for you. These pocket-size, sturdy, laminated cards can be easily carried with you as a quick reference wherever you need them. The sets are also available as electronic publications formatted for iOS and Kindle compatible devices.
Vineyard Pest Identification and Monitoring
These cards are also available as a separate card set, publication #3538, in Spanish. You can purchase each card set alone or in bundles for a price break. The bundles are perfect for vineyard managers and their crews.
Tree Fruit Pest Identification
The Tree Fruit Pest Identification Card Set is available only as an electronic publication. The set covers major insect and mite pests and several important diseases in California deciduous tree fruits and nuts. Each pest is identified by a description and close-up photographs of important life stages to help you know how and when to look for these pests -- in both growing and dormant seasons. The cards also include descriptions of natural enemies.
Landscape Pest Identification
The Landscape Pest Identification Card Set will help landscape maintenance professionals and home gardeners identify and manage most major common pest problems in the landscape. The 43 cards cover 80 common insect pests and mites and 40 diseases of flowers, shrubs and trees.
Weed Identification and Monitoring
The Weed Identification and Monitoring Card Set is based on the bestselling Weeds of California and Other Western States; this is the perfect pocket-sized companion for anyone working in the field.
Each weed is identified by a description and excellent close-up color photographs of various growth stages with 187 photos in all. On the reverse of each card is a description of growth stages, habitat, distribution and management tips. It also includes handy inch and metric measurement scales. A sturdy rivet keeps the set together so individual cards don't go astray.
Pests of the Garden and Small Farm
A new set Pests of the Garden and Small Farm Card Set is coming out soon. Stay tuned for its release. Currently, there is a beautiful book, publication 3332.
To purchase the card sets or electronic versions, visit the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources publication catalog. Refer to the table below for the publication and click on the version you want:
- Card set - a deck of cards on a spindle
- E-pub - electronic version for iOS
- Kindle - electronic version for Kindle
Landscape Pest ID Cards
Vineyard Pest ID and Monitoring Cards
Tarjetas de identification de plagas de la vid (Spanish)
Weed Pest ID and Monitoring Cards
Tree Fruit ID Cards
Backyard gardeners, if you still cannot identify that weed, bug or problem with your plant, you can always bring a sample to our Master Gardeners desk. There is a drop box available to leave samples after hours./table>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>