- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Don't miss the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology virtual open house on alfalfa and rice from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Oct. 22.
Cooperative Extension agricultural specialist Ian Grettenberger, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and his second-year graduate student, Madison "Madi" Hendrick, will discuss the crops, the pests, and the natural enemies or beneficials.
The good: Think the lady beetle, aka ladybug, that can devour some 50 aphids a day.
The bad: Think the larvae of the alfalfa butterfly, a major pest of alfalfa. Other pests of alfalfa include the Western yellowstriped armyworm, beet armyworm, and alfalfa weevil. Among the pests of rice: armyworms, aster leafhoppers, crayfish, rice leafminers, rice seed midges, rice water weevils and tadpole shrimp.
The bugly: Think all the arthropods--pests and natural enemies.
The event, "The Good and the Bad: Insects and Other Arthropods in Agriculture, with a Focus on California Rice and Alfalfa," will be live-streamed on the Bohart Museum of Entomology's Facebook page. (Link to Facebook live here). Grettenberger and Hendrick will present short talks and then field questions. No personal Facebook account is required to join the session, which is free and open to the public.
As Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator of the Bohart Museum, says: "This is all about the arthropods, both the pests and beneficials that they study in the rice and alfalfa fields." Most of the focus is on insects, but tadpole shrimp in rice fields also will be discussed." A virtual family craft activity on rice is also planned.
"I will be discussing some of the insect (or arthropod) problems faced by growers of rice in California and some of the challenges in managing them, Grettenberger said. "In rice, some of the key arthropod pests are tadpole shrimp, which can turn what would have been a lush stand if rice into a poor stand with a lot of floating seedlings. Meanwhile, later in the year, armyworm caterpillars, the larvae of a moth, can chew on rice leaves and destroy plants. I'll discuss some of the ongoing work to better understand and manage these pests."
Grettenberger, Yolo County Farm Advisor Rachael Freeman Long and Madi Hendrick recently wrote a piece in the UC Agricultural and Natural Resources (UC ANR) blog, Alfalfa and Forage News, "A (Virtual )Update on Worms, Weevils an Aphids in Alfalfa."
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, but is temporarily closed. The museum houses nearly eight million insect specimens; a live "petting zoo" of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and taranatulas; and a gift shop stocked with insect-themed T-shirts, books, posters, jewelry, candy and insect-collecting equipment. (Gift items can now be shipped during the closure.)