- Author: Saoimanu Sope
Living with pests, or “unwanted guests” as some put it, can take a physical, mental and economic toll. For people living in multi-family unit housing, like an apartment complex where everyone lives under one roof, a single infestation of insects or rodents can expose all residents.
Using integrated pest management, or IPM, residents and property managers can detect infestations early and control severe ones and protect people. IPM programs can also save money. IPM saved a 75-unit complex in Contra Costa County $11,121 annually. Similarly, in Santa Clara County, a 59-unit complex saved $1,321 on pest control annually after implementing a proactive IPM program.
This summer, regional directors, property managers, residential service coordinators, maintenance managers and groundskeepers of Mercy Housing – a nonprofit organization that provides affordable, low-income housing – gathered in Long Beach to learn about in-home IPM. The session was led by Siavash Taravati, University of California Cooperative Extension area IPM advisor for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, and
Josh Shoemaker, an entomologist and private consultant.
Taravati and Shoemaker collaborated with StopPests in Housing, a national program out of Cornell University's Northeastern IPM Center, which seeks to improve pest control in affordable housing and teach management practices for cockroaches, bed bugs and rodents within and around the home.
During their presentation, Taravati introduced participants to the IPM principles and emphasized the importance of monitoring pests.
“IPM is all about making informed decisions which requires knowing the latest status of an infestation,” explained Taravati. “That's where monitoring comes into play. It can help us to identify the exact species we are dealing with as well as telling us if an infestation is growing or shrinking.”
“Monitoring is foundational,” agreed Shoemaker. “If a program does not include monitoring, it's not an IPM program.”
According to Shoemaker, the benefit of partnering with UC IPM is their sharp focus on general IPM, which includes monitoring. “It's real IPM, that prioritizes the well-being of the public,” said Shoemaker, who's eager to continue working with Cooperative Extension and Taravati to ensure that children are growing up in safe environments.
Pest control treatments commonly take place following a serious infestation or several complaints, but IPM promotes constant monitoring to prevent heavy infestations from ever happening. It's a proactive approach rather than a reactive or emergency-response. For many attendees, the training revealed a need to engage with pest management operators more closely.
Training prompts changes that improve safety for residents
Pest management operators commonly use pesticide sprays to control pests. Besides inconveniencing residents, forcing them to do extensive preparations and evacuate their unit until it's safe to return, sprays increase exposure risk to pesticides since the aerosols can linger and land on surfaces.
Instead, Taravati and Shoemaker recommend using gel baits, which are much safer to apply and can target a specific area of a home, including crevices, instead of along all the walls.
“Now that I'm more informed, I'll be speaking to my contractor to discuss how we can switch their approach from a bug spray to a gel,” said Leonardo Pinuelas, a maintenance manager for Mercy Housing.
Pinuelas is not the only one wanting to modify their program, however. According to feedback from staff members at the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles who experienced the same training earlier this year, they prompted their team to amend their pest extermination to include dusting, or applying insecticidal dusts, against roaches, and to review and update their existing IPM plan and practices where appropriate.
Cindy Wise, area director of operations for Mercy Housing, said that in her 35 years, this was one of the few trainings that engaged her staff so actively. “I couldn't help but text my regional vice president to say that our managers were actively participating and asking questions. That doesn't happen often, not even in our own meetings,” said Wise.
Many of the attendees, with their new understanding of how cockroaches move through a structure, shared that they are eager to return to work to meet with residents and support them.
“If you've got roaches in one unit, you've got them in the entire building,” Wise said.
Shoemaker recalls the words of Judy Black, senior technical entomologist for Orkin, and Dini Miller, entomologist at Virginia Tech, who urge the importance of inspections and documentation as IPM best practices.
Although reporting pests in the home can make one feel embarrassed, Wise said she is more interested in making residents feel empowered to not only report signs of infestation to the staff, but to their neighbors.
Training residents is certainly beneficial, but as experts such as Black and Miller have pointed out, housing managers must do their part, instead of scapegoating tenants for their cleaning habits.
StopPests provides free IPM training and technical assistance to Housing and Urban Development assisted properties. If you are interested in the training provided by Taravati and Shoemaker, in collaboration with StopPests, visit StopPests.org for more information.
- Author: Mike Hsu
During summer swarming season, homeowners urged to check for signs of Formosan subterranean termite
In the lottery of troublesome termite infestations, “Roger,” a Rancho Santa Fe homeowner, hit the jackpot (a pseudonym is used to protect his privacy). In 2021, his house in San Diego County was identified as home to only the fourth documented colony of the Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) in California.
“FST is one of the most destructive urban pests in the world,” said University of California, Riverside entomologist Chow-Yang Lee, affiliated with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources through the campus' Agricultural Experiment Station. “It's also the only termite species listed in the ‘100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species.'”
Endemic to East Asia, this termite is now established in many tropical and subtropical regions, including across the American South. Annually, its infestation costs more than $4 billion in control measures and damage repairs of structures in the U.S.
FST was first discovered in California in La Mesa (San Diego County) in 1992, and it was rediscovered in that city in 2018. Another infestation was reported in Canyon Lake (Riverside County) in 2020. And then, the following year, Roger received his surprise.
“Imagine being in your kitchen looking at your drywall and it's totally normal and then the next day there's a four-inch hole there and you're like ‘What the heck is that? Who put their elbow into the drywall?'” he recalled.
FST colonies can reach millions of individuals
Roger hired a pest control company, Green Flash Pest Control, which sprayed a powerful liquid termiticide in the soil around the house. But the termites – workers, soldiers and winged “alates” – continued to appear. The company tried a second application of soil treatment. But, again, the termites kept popping up.
“We were deeply concerned about the potential damage these termites could cause to the home since these invasive termites are extremely destructive,” said Eric Veronick, director of operations at Green Flash. “Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot of information available on the behavior and management of this termite in California.”
“Some colonies are aerial, meaning that they are formed above the ground with limited or no connection to the soil – in such cases, soil treatment using contact insecticides may not be very effective in managing these termites,” Taravati said. “Furthermore, contact insecticides usually kill a much smaller portion of the colony when compared to termite baits.”
To make matters worse, once FST is established in an area, there have been no records of successful eradication anywhere in the world, according to Taravati. He added that a major reason why the Formosan subterranean termite is so destructive is the enormous size of their colonies.
“Their colonies can reach millions of individuals, versus most native subterranean species that reach a few hundred thousand individual termites per colony,” Taravati explained.
This termite, through its sheer numbers, can turn the wood in a structure into a “spongy kind of cake,” in Taravati's words. More than 10 pounds of wood in a house can be eaten by a mature colony each month. The financial hit for a homeowner can be substantial, up to tens of thousands of dollars – not to mention the increased risks to safety.
“Anything from studs to rafters to door frames and window frames – everything is going to be compromised, if the termites are left unchecked. And then, as soon as we have a major stress on the building, let's say there's a big storm or an earthquake – there's a high risk of at least part of the building collapsing,” said Taravati, who also noted that, unlike California native subterranean termite species, FST can attack and kill live trees and plants.
“These termites can be a nightmare,” he said.
Summer is ‘swarming season' for FST
Since the Rancho Santa Fe case in 2021, four more colonies have been documented, in La Mesa again and also in Highland Park, Hollywood Hills and La Verne (the latter three in Los Angeles County). Taravati said it's possible that FST has been spreading via structural lumber or potted plants and soil.
And even if a colony appears to be eliminated at a certain locale, Taravati noted, there is always the chance that part of the colony survives or more colonies of termites already have been established in nearby locations, as a result of swarming termites from the originally infested property.
Although nominally “subterranean,” certain members of an FST colony grow wings and fly to nearby locations to establish new colonies. These winged alates are also called swarmers because of their behavior during the “swarming” season, when termites mate and reproduce.
For the Formosan subterranean termite, that swarming season in California is late May through early August, so now is the time for homeowners and building managers in southern and central California to keep an eye out for those winged termites.
“If you experience a termite swarm in your house, contact a pest management professional and keep some termite samples in a Ziploc bag in the event you need to send the samples to UC Riverside for morphological and DNA-based identifications,” said Lee, who added that it's a good idea to periodically check your structure for signs of infestation, such as wood damage or shelter tubes (mud tubes).
Lee said FST swarmers have a lighter colored body compared to the dark color of native subterranean termites and the orange-brown body of drywood termite swarmers (see this flyer for additional identification information).
Following an especially wet winter, there's a chance California could see more FST infestations, as this termite generally requires moist environments to thrive, Lee added. He recommends that concerned community members seek professional advice.
“Do not attempt to control an FST infestation by yourself,” Lee said. “This is not your typical native Californian subterranean termite species; they are highly destructive, and you want to intercept the problem with the right strategy before it's too late.”
Homeowner: ‘I owe them my house'
In Roger's case, Taravati enlisted the help of Lee and his UC colleague, Greg Kund. They made multiple visits to inspect the home and analyze the situation – going “above and beyond,” according to Roger.
At Lee's suggestion, they used a caulk gun to insert a gel-like experimental bait into the wall where the termites were coming out. Once spread and passed on to the other nestmates, the product – which contains a chitin synthesis inhibitor (a type of insect growth regulator) – interrupts the termites' development so they are unable to properly molt and replace the short-lived “workforce” of foragers and soldiers. The colony eventually collapses and is eliminated.
“Generally speaking, IGRs are much more effective, but they require more patience,” Taravati explained. “You're not going to see the results the next day, or two-three days. You're going to see the results in a few weeks – but when you see the results, it's massive.”
And that's exactly what Roger and Green Flash Pest Control saw.
“Soon after their bait application, the termites stopped emerging from the walls and that gave us and the homeowner a big sigh of relief,” Veronick said. “I appreciate their expertise and dedication in helping us get rid of this destructive pest."
Roger said he is immensely grateful to the UC team.
“They were fantastic; I owe them my house,” he said. “They were super gracious and helpful and responsive and – ultimately, the thing I care most about – they were effective; they fixed the problem. Here we are two years later and – knock on wood, or maybe I should knock on something else! – everything is good.”
Lee also credited Taravati for bringing his knowledge and “can-do” attitude to communities across Southern California.
“He is highly knowledgeable and always able to come up with feasible solutions,” Lee said. “We need good Cooperative Extension urban IPM advisors like Siavash who could provide good advice and bring solutions to the stakeholders, be they homeowners or pest management professionals.”
Taravati said community members need to maintain their vigilance and urges them to download and share the FST flyer that includes identification tips and contact information. He said they are always free to e-mail him with their concerns and photos of suspected FST – not only to help stop the spread of the pest but to expand scientific understanding.
“This termite is so new to California – even for us, as researchers. Despite being in La Mesa since the 1990s, it wasn't until 2020 when these termites were detected in other places, including Riverside and Los Angeles counties,” Taravati explained. “All of us need to learn more about this pest and closely monitor the behavior of this pest.”/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Amira Resnick joined UC ANR as director for Community Nutrition and Health on Feb. 15.
"We look forward to Amira bringing her enthusiasm and experience to help continue the growth of our nutrition and health work across the state," said Associate Vice President Wendy Powers. "Our historical impact in these areas – and more recently the growing concerns around COVID-19 and food security – highlight the importance of and need for this work.”
Prior to joining UC ANR, Resnick was senior manager with Alliance for a Healthier Generation based in Los Angeles. In that position, she has spearheaded new, innovative multisectoral partnership development, secured funding opportunities, and implemented projects to advance environmental and systemic change toward whole child health. Previously, as Statewide Family Services coordinator with Telamon Corporation, she led program implementation across 17 Migrant Head Start sites with 500 employees, serving over 1,000 families.
Resnick holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California and a bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Michigan.
“The position will further refine our vision for growth in the areas of nutrition and health and will oversee the network of nutrition and health work implemented across the state through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program; CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program; and UC Master Food Preserver program,” said Mark Bell, vice provost of strategic initiatives and statewide programs.
Resnick is based in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tracy Roman joined UC ANR as associate director for the Business Operations Center on Feb. 15.
For the past 27 years, Roman worked for UC Davis Stores (Bookstore) in multiple positions, the last decade as the associate director of finance. She also was the bookstore's coordinator of commencement for students, served on the UC Student Health Insurance Plan committee and was a member of UC Davis' administrative management group called ADMAN.
During her tenure with the bookstore, Roman coordinated the student health vending machine, got SNAP accepted on campus, developed “Relax and Restore” (an event to help student de-stress during finals week), helped get an Amazon store located on campus, and served as project manager for Equitable Access.
Roman is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com.
Maru Fernandez joined ANR as associate director of statewide programs operations and research and extension centers on Jan. 24.
Fernandez, who has worked for UC since 2011, served as Financial Services Supervisor for the UC ANR Business Operations Center in 2020 and 2021. She has also worked in Contracts and Grants Accounting at UC Davis, as a fund manager.
She earned a B.S. in entrepreneurial management and marketing from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Fernandez is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Philip Waisen joined UC Cooperative Extension as a vegetable crops and small farms advisor in Riverside and Imperial counties on Jan. 10.
He is developing research and extension programs focused on pest and disease management and plant nutrient management in vegetable agroecosystems.
Prior to joining UCCE, Waisen was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he worked on Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education-funded research projects on nematode and soil health management in tomatoes, peppers, cucurbits, asparagus, banana and brassicas. During 2021, Waisen served as a part-time lecturer teaching plant pathology, research methods, and horticultural sciences courses for his alma mater, the Papua New Guinea University of Technology.
He earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in plant pathology/nematology, plant and environmental protection sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a B.S. in agriculture and plant disease at Papua New Guinea University of Technology.
Waisen is based in Indio and can be reached at email@example.com and (760) 342-2467.
Natalie Levy joined UC Cooperative Extension on Jan. 3 as an associate specialist for water resources serving Orange County.
Levy will be designing and conducting water-related research and extension activities focused on the needs of both urban and agriculture systems. Based at the South Coast Research and Extension Center, she assists with the Climate Ready Landscape Plant irrigation trials, a collaborative Specialty Crops Multistate research project being conducted at several Western academic institutions. The data collected from the deficit irrigation trials are used to assess vigor and overall performance of landscape plants to identify low-water use plants that can be successfully grown in each climate and soil type.
Prior to becoming a UCCE specialist, Levy was a staff research associate at South Coast REC assisting with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's study of storm and non-storm runoff within urban landscapes in OC. Before joining UC ANR, she worked for ecko360 as terrestrial division director, developing custom aerial imaging and modeling solutions for plant production systems.
She earned a Ph.D. in agricultural and extension education and evaluation and an M.S. in agronomy, both from Louisiana State University, and a B.S. in environmental science from UC Berkeley.
Levy is headquartered at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Morris joined UCCE in Santa Clara County as agricultural liaison, a new UCCE position supported by the county Agricultural Division and UC ANR, on Jan. 3. Morris will facilitate and expedite agricultural projects in Santa Clara County.
“Julie will advance our mission to support economic and community development of local farms and ranches by coordinating across county departments and community groups to enhance food access and public health,” said Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioner Joe Deviney.
Morris will help agricultural producers navigate the complex regulations and coordinate efforts for policy change and regulatory simplification. By working closely with a variety of partners, including farms and ranches, landowners, policy advocates, decisionmakers, community stakeholders and others, she will be instrumental in developing and administering new systems, policies, processes and programs supporting healthy food systems.
A longtime rancher and co-founder of T.O. Cattle Company, Morris is an advocate of local food systems. Her family's ranch direct markets grass-fed beef to customers throughout California. She was communications and government affairs manager at Earthbound Farm and has experience with federal and state agriculture policy, food access issues, and regulatory and compliance standards. She is also the former executive director of Community Vision San Benito County, part of the Community Foundation of San Benito County.
Morris holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from San Diego State University and is a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership program, a two-year fellowship focusing on community involvement and leadership.
Morris is based in San Jose and can be reached at (408) 201-0674 and email@example.com.
Rita Clemons joined UC ANR as UCCE director in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties on Dec. 1, 2021. By assuming administrative responsibilities for the three counties, Clemons' hiring allows Darren Haver, Janet Hartin, Chris McDonald and Stephanie Barrett to focus on their research and extension.
Prior to joining UC ANR, Clemons was the regional center director for Cambridge College-Southern California, creating visibility for the college by developing strong partnerships and relationships with local community organizations. She managed day-to-day operations; recruited, interviewed and recommended faculty; supervised faculty and staff; resolved complaints from constituents; represented the college at events; assessed academic and student service needs; recommended new programs and developed agreements to market the college.
The Pomona native began her corporate career working in human resources for law firms in Los Angeles. She moved to higher education, first as a recruiter for Claremont Graduate University's School of Politics and Economics, and eventually becoming a program administrator for the School of Information Systems and Technology.
Clemons earned a degree in paralegal studies at the Southern California College of Business and Law, bachelor's degree in business administration at the University of Phoenix, and a master's degree in management with a concentration in leadership at Claremont Graduate University.
Clemons is based in Moreno Valley and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Urban IPM team wins CDPR IPM Achievement Award
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation presented a 2021 IPM Achievement Award to Karey Windbiel-Rojas, associate director for Urban & Community IPM, and fellow UCCE advisors Andrew Sutherland, Niamh Quinn and Siavash Taravati for their integrated pest management work in urban settings.
The advisors play important roles in encouraging IPM implementation in urban settings throughout California. As urban IPM advisors, they conduct research, provide training and publish resources to promote IPM adoption. Their research topics include urban IPM, organic herbicides, bait-only cockroach management programs, bedbugs, rodent and coyote management in the wildland-urban interface, red imported fire ants, and municipal IPM.
They received the award during a virtual meeting on Feb. 22.
WeedCUT wins CDPR IPM Achievement Award
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation also presented a 2021 IPM Achievement Award to the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) and members of the UC Integrated Pest Management Program for science-based tools and resources to control invasive weeds in California.
With funding from the DPR Alliance Grants Program, Cal-IPC and Tunyalee Martin, associate director for communications, Chinh Lam, IT supervisor and lead programmer, and Cheryl Wilen, emeritus IPM advisor, published the “Best Management Practices for Non-Chemical Weed Control” manual and released an interactive online tool called WeedCUT, which helps users make informed decisions about managing weeds without using chemicals.
“We're very fortunate that DPR has funded version 2 of WeedCUT to add herbicide information,” Martin said. “This will make the tool a complete, one-stop shop for natural areas weedy plant management.”
Ken Tate received the Society for Range Management's 2022 W.R. Chapline Land Stewardship Award on Jan. 10 during the society's annual meeting in Albuquerque. The award recognizes exceptional accomplishments and contributions in range management.
Tate, professor and Rustici Endowed Specialist in Rangeland Watershed Sciences with UC Cooperative Extension and UC Davis, has contributed to the conservation of California's rangelands over the past three decades. His research and extension focus on natural resources and sustainable agricultural enterprises. Recommendations from his work have had significant impacts in guiding ranchers and state and federal land management agencies.
Tate has led multiple teams to develop research, education and extension programs to proactively address concerns about fecal microbial pollution from rangeland cattle.
Early in his career, he worked to inform public interest groups on the risk of pathogenic contamination of San Francisco's drinking water supply. Working with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Tate helped stakeholder groups identify management practices to reduce risks of drinking water supplies being contaminated by livestock-borne Cryptosporidium parvum, allowing ranching families to continue sustainable grazing practices on Bay Area watersheds. Since then, he has led numerous collaborations to examine the movement of other pathogens; bacterial indicators of water quality such as fecal coliforms and Enterococci; and hormones and pharmaceutical products common in rangeland cattle production.
Tate has published 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and secured over $14 million in research and extension grants. His scientific leadership and expertise in the livestock grazing-environmental quality-human health nexus have been sought out nationally and internationally. Most importantly, Tate has become a trusted source of information through his work with private landowners, public land managers, conservation groups, regulatory agency staff and policymakers to support science-based decision-making.
Blake Sanden, emeritus UCCE farm advisor, received an Honoree Award from the California Chapter of the American Society of Agronomy.
As a result of Sanden's research, many almond growers started to put more water on their trees. And average Kern County almond yields increased by 65% between 2002 and 2011 compared to the previous 15 years, the Almond Board of California wrote in a story on its website.
Sanden retired in 2018 from his 26-year UCCE career.
“He was a champion on re-evaluating the water requirements for almond trees, which prior to his investigation was too little,” said Bob Curtis, the retired former director of agricultural affairs for the Almond Board of California.
“While there is no doubt that Blake had a big impact on California growers, he also had an impact on new farm advisors, including myself, as he was always there to help and transfer his knowledge and experiences to us as we started our new job as farm advisors,” said Mohammad Yaghmour, UCCE orchards advisor in Kern County.
Sanden received the award during the American Society of Agronomy's convention held via Zoom Feb. 1-3.
Kate Scow and Daniel Sperling, UC Davis professors, have been elected as members of the National Academy of Engineering.
Kate Scow is a distinguished professor emeritus of soil microbial ecology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. The academy honored her for “elucidating the role of soil microbial communities in polluted ecosystems and their responses to agricultural management practices,” according to an NAE statement.
The newly elected class will be formally inducted during the NAE's annual meeting on Oct. 2.
Pam Ronald, UC Davis plant geneticist, has been named the recipient of the 2022 International Wolf Prize in Agriculture, given by the Jerusalem-based Wolf Foundation in recognition of her “pioneering work on disease resistance and environmental stress tolerance in rice.”
Ronald is a distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, having joined the faculty in 1972, and is also affiliated with the UC Davis Genome Center and the Physical Biosciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The Wolf Foundation noted her work isolating a gene that allows rice to survive two weeks of flooding and increases yield by 60% compared to conventional varieties. “Her discoveries show an advanced understanding of fundamental biological processes and enhance sustainable agriculture and food security,” the foundation said in its announcement of her prize.
Flood-tolerant rice varieties are now grown by more than 6 million subsistence farmers in India and Bangladesh. The committee noted that those two countries lose more than 4 million tons of rice each year to flooding, enough to feed 30 million people.
Ronald founded the UC Davis Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy to provide the next generation of scientists with the training they need to become effective communicators. She and her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer who retired in 2020 as the market garden coordinator for the UC Davis Student Farm, are the authors of Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food.
The foundation has been giving its $100,000 prizes in agriculture and other disciplines since 1978, honoring scientists and artists from around the world “for their achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations amongst peoples.” – Kat Kerlin
Getts, Haviland, Nobua-Behrmann appointed to CISAC
UC Cooperative Extension advisors Tom Getts, David Haviland and Bea Nobua-Behrmann have been selected to serve on the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee.
This group advises the Invasive Species Council of California, which is composed of the secretaries of California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Health and Human Services Agency, and the Office of Emergency Services.
- Author: Siavash Taravati
Western drywood termites (Incisitermes minor, Figure 1) are important pests of structural wood in California, causing millions of dollars in damage annually. These termites are very cryptic, hidden in their galleries within wood members (pieces of wood), and only emerge during swarming. As a result, wood damage usually goes unnoticed for a long time.
UC IPM Control options are generally categorized as either whole-structure treatment (heat-treatment and fumigation) or local treatments (insecticide injection into the wood, high-power microwaves, electrocution, and other techniques). Despite the high efficacy of fumigation, there has been increasing interest by property owners to use local treatments for eradicating drywood termites. This may be due to the high cost and inconvenience of fumigation.
To learn more about decision-making associated with fumigation, visit urbanipmsocal.com/ipm/termites/ to-fumigate-or-not-to-fumigate. Local treatment of drywood termites can be ineffective because of the difficulty in locating active infestation sites within structures. To address this issue, practitioners and researchers have considered different detection methods using traditional and modern technologies such as borescopes, moisture meters, and heat sensors as well as devices using X-rays, acoustic emission, and low-energy microwaves.
Here we provide a review and some technical details on how to operate a specific device using microwave technology for detecting termite movement in structures.
Termatrac1 is the brand name of a portable device that emits and receives low-energy microwaves to detect tiny movements in wood. This device is currently available as two models: Termatrac T3i All Sensor and Termatrac T3i Radar Only. Termatrac All Sensor includes a microwave emitter/sensor, a moisture meter, and a thermal sensor. The Radar-Only version, however, includes only the microwave technology (“radar”). Both devices generate a line graph output that represents termite movement within wood
Although such output can be informative, interpreting the results might not always be easy and may also require considerable expertise. First, the output's line graph may represent detection of non-termite objects or the user themselves (body movement or hand shaking while holding the device). Second, the signal intensity varies depending on the depth of termite activity, so Gain settings may need to be adjusted for higher or lower sensitivity. Third, the relationship between termite density (number of termites per unit of area) and signal strength is not easily understood by users (Figure 3). Fourth, termites may not be present or active during inspection and this may lead to a false negative conclusion (concluding “no termites” when they are present) when inspecting an infestation. To address these issues, field and lab research experiments were conducted in California to evaluate the efficacy of the Termatrac device and to help termite inspectors accurately interpret the output signal.
Termatrac can be used in different positions (see Figure 4):
- hand-held with radar surface flush against the inspection surface
- mounted on a tripod with radar surface flush against the inspection surface
- resting on a horizontal surface with radar surface flush against the inspection surface
- with radar at 45° angle to the inspection surface using the back flap or a tripod
Field studies revealed that hand-held uses produce less accurate results than tripod/flap supported uses due to user hand shaking. Also, the device's output showed more noise (noise refers to a detected signal in the output that is not coming from drywood termites) from the user's body movement when used at 45° to the inspection surface as compared to flush against the inspection surface (Taravati 2019).
For optimal readings, Termatrac users should keep the following in mind. Users need to stand still when reading the output or the device will pick up their body movement and produce a false positive signal. This is especially true at high sensitivities. Users also need to ensure that there are no moving objects (vehicles, plants swaying with the wind, airborne debris such as leaves and dusts, children, or animals (such as pets and birds) on the other side of the inspection surface (a wall for instance) which may create false positive signals. Also, water passing through pipes behind inspection surfaces may produce a strong signal. However, heavy machinery around the experiment sites did not produce any detectable noise despite being very loud. The device should not be used to inspect unstable surfaces or non-fixed objects (e.g. yard fence) since these situations will increase the chance of false positive signals and inaccurate detection of termites. To save time and increase accuracy when inspecting standard interior walls, users should first try to locate studs using a stud finder and then use Termatrac on those areas only. Users may also choose to focus on wooden window frames and windowsills since these have been observed to be one of the most common spots where drywood termites are detected in homes.
Lab studies showed that higher densities of termites may not necessarily produce stronger signal (Figure 3).
At the highest sensitivity setting, Termatrac T3i was able to detect a single drywood termite behind 5 cm (2 inch) of wood and 1.3 cm (0.5 inch) of drywall (total thickness of test “wall”: 6.3 cm / 2.5 inch). Drywood termites move within their galleries continually and therefore may not be present in all gallery regions at all times. Furthermore, termite activity may change throughout the day depending on temperature and other factors (Figure 5). As a result, if you suspect an active infestation in a wall but are not getting a detectable Termatrac signal, it is worth moving on to other areas and then returning in a few minutes to reinspect the suspect location.
This structural wood member contained 47 live termites. (from Taravati, 2019) To conclude, Termatrac can be very useful in some termite detection. Like other termite detection devices, Termatrac has limitations and requires training and experience before a user can efficiently and accurately detect termites. With this said, an experienced Termatrac user can obtain valuable information about termite presence and activity when the infested wood members are in accessible locations.
1 Mention of a product does not constitute an endorsement.
This article was originally published in Winter 2020 issue of The Green Bulletin./h4>/h4>/h4>
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Katherine (Katie) Helwig Panarella joined the Youth, Families and Communities Statewide Program as associate director of the Nutrition and Family and Consumer Sciences Program and Policy on July 13.
Panarella has more than 10 years of experience managing community-based programs in nutrition and food systems though outreach venues, grassroots organizations, community groups and state and federal initiatives. She developed and implemented evidence-based nutrition programs aimed to improve the health of racially diverse, low-income communities with over 500 non-profit agencies, child care providers, and social service agencies in six California counties over eight years. She comes with experience in staff and volunteer hiring, training and supervision, contract management including USDA programs, and community and school garden development. She was also a professional landscaper for seven years.
Prior to joining UC ANR, she was a consultant and a research-evaluation specialist for a children's cooking lab project to assess objective and short term outcomes in low-income Boston neighborhoods.
She completed a dual master's program at Tufts University, earning an MS in food policy and applied nutrition from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, plus a Master's of Public Health from the School of Medicine, with a concentration in nutrition. Panarella is fluent in Spanish.
Panarella is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1393 and email@example.com.
Kearns named CIWR academic coordinator II
Prior to returning to UC, Kearns was an officer with the Ocean Science Division of the Pew Environment Group in Washington D.C, where she collaborated with policy and advocacy staff to integrate scientific information into campaigns using a variety of scientific, technical and communications approaches. From 2005 through 2009, she was the associate director of the Center for Fire Research and Outreach at UC Berkeley. She also developed science outreach projects at the Ecological Society of America, served as an AAAS Science and Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of State and worked as a research and communications associate at UC Berkeley's Center for Forestry.
Kearns earned a bachelor's degree in environmental science, geology and political science from Northern Arizona University and a Ph.D. in environmental science, policy, and management from UC Berkeley. Her doctoral studies focused on urban freshwater ecosystems, landscape ecology and Web-based tools for natural resource management.
Kearns is based at UCOP and can be reached at (510) 987-9124 and Faith.Kearns@ucop.edu
Siavash Taravati joined UC ANR as an area IPM advisor based in Los Angeles County on July 6.
Prior to joining UCCE, Taravati was a research assistant at University of Florida Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Fla., since 2011. There, he worked on the biology and management of rugose spiraling whitefly, an invasive species found for the first time in the U.S. in 2009. He also gained a lot of experience in growing and maintaining vegetables, ornamental plants and shade and fruit trees. Taravati reared several pestiferous and beneficial insects such as whiteflies, scales, lady beetles, lacewings and parasitoids. He conducted several efficacy trials using natural and synthetic insecticides and, as a part of his research, he evaluated the compatibility of systemic imidacloprid with the biological control of rugose spiraling whitefly.
Taravati is a beetle enthusiast and is a co-founder of www.tenebrionidae.net, which was established in 2005. This website is dedicated to the study of darkling beetles. Taravati holds a patent (U.S. Patent registration number: TX 7-301-658) for a computer program he developed during his master's studies at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran. This program aids in conversion and visualization of geometric morphometrics outline data (http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/morph/soft-outlines.html). Taravati has experience in macro photography, auto-montage, computer programming and Web development.
He is fluent in Farsi and English and is familiar with taxonomic texts in German.
Taravati earned a Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Florida, M.Sc. in biology at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran, and B.Sc. in biology, faculty of science, University of Tehran, Iran.
Taravati is based in Alhambra and can be reached at (626) 586-1981 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Margaret Lloyd joined UC Cooperative Extension as a small farms advisor with an emphasis on organic production for Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties on July 6.
Lloyd brings expertise in organic production practices. Under Tom Gordon, UC Davis plant pathology professor, she studied non-chemical alternatives to methyl bromide, including the role of rotation crops and compost in management of soilborne diseases, and leguminous cover crops as cryptic hosts for Verticillium wilt.
As a farm apprentice in Willits in 2003, Lloyd grew 5 acres of organic, biointensive vegetables and grains, which she sold at a farmers market. In 2004 she because assistant garden manager for Ecology Action Mini-farm Demonstration and Research Garden, a non-profit founded by John Jeavons, also in Willits. In 2005, Lloyd founded Home Farming International, a small business in Berkeley that helped Bay Area clients develop sustainable home farms. She provided an in-home “apprenticeship” to grow food, build soil health and ecosystem diversity, and taught workshops and classes for three years. She created and managed the "Salad Bowl Garden," the edible garden at the entrance to the Plant Sciences building on the UC Davis campus, from 2008 to 2012.
She earned a Ph.D. and MS in plant pathology and an MS in international agricultural development, all from UC Davis. She also holds a BA in international relations and environmental science from Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
Lloyd is based in Woodland and can be reached at (530) 564-8642 and email@example.com
Petr Kosina joined UC Integrated Pest Management Program as the new IPM content development supervisor on April 27. He manages the team of editors who develop the content for online and print integrated pest management information products.
He has a Ph.D. in crop science from Czech University of Agriculture in Prague and 10 years of experience teaching horticulture and vegetable and fruit production. He has developed many outreach materials similar to what we produce at UC IPM, such as extension publications on a parasitic weed, stem borers in rice and wheat, and wheat stem rust. He has developed communications products for both technical and non-technical audiences. Kosina speaks Czech, English, Spanish and Russian, and is learning French.
Prior to joining UC ANR, Kosina worked at CIMMYT, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, where he developed online tools such as Wheat Atlas and Wheat Doctor, organized and facilitated meetings and conferences, and developed training courses for extension workers in Mexico.
Danny Won joined the UC IPM Program on June 8 as a program support assistant. His primary responsibilities are to provide administrative support to the director and all aspects of the UC IPM Program. His duties can range from coordinating meetings and events to processing travel claims. He may also be the first point of contact for people calling UC IPM with questions about pest problems.
Won can be reached at (530) 750-1353 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rodrigues appointed to state forestry board
Kimberly Rodrigues, director of Hopland Research and Extension Center, has been appointed to the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection by Governor Jerry Brown.
This position requires state Senate confirmation and there is no compensation.
WEDA honors SOD response team
The award-winning SOD team is composed of Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension personnel: UC Cooperative Extension advisors Yana Valachovic in Humboldt County, Paul Vossen in Sonoma County, Steve Swain in Marin County, Steve Tjosvold in Santa Cruz County, and David Lewis and Ellie Rilla, both in Marin County; UCCE specialists Matteo Garbelotto, Maggi Kelly, Doug McCreary and Rick Standiford, all at UC Berkeley; UC Berkeley professor Richard Dodd; UC Davis professor Dave Rizzo; UC Davis professor Jim MacDonald; SOD program coordinator Lisa Bell; UCCE forest health educator Janice Alexander; public information officer Katie Palmieri; staff research associates Kerri Frangioso, Chris Lee, Brice McPherson, Doug Schmidt, Dan Stark and Brendan Twieg; and many graduate students.
The award recognizes the team for understanding the issue and situation, working with stakeholders, having a research base and an extension focus, evidencing multidisciplinary and collaborative components, incorporating innovative approaches, achieving impacts and developing scholarly products.
At the Western Region Joint Summer Meeting in Breckenridge, Colo., Alexander gave a presentation about the UC team's work addressing sudden oak death and accepted the award on the team's behalf on July 8.