The public, says entomologist Kris Godfrey, needs to become more aware of the threat of invasive species.
And, she adds, we need to educate people and organizations about the incoming pests and pests that are already here.
With that in mind, she's coordinating an all-day conference, themed “Educating the Public about New Invasive Species Threatening California’s Plant Ecosystems,” set Tuesday, April 24 in the UC Davis Conference Center.
The goal? "To bring together biologists, social scientists, and communication experts to discuss how to educate all segments of society about the threat of invasive species and how to assist in their exclusion and detection,” said Godfrey, an associate project scientist with the Contained Research Facility at UC Davis.
Godfrey, formerly with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, says conference attendees will learn about developing and delivering effective and consistent messages about invasive species to a variety of audiences. They also will learn how to access the resources available to conduct effective outreach programs on invasive species.
Among the pests to be discussed: the golden spotted oak borer, Asian citrus psyllid, European grapevine moth, Japanese dodder, sudden oak death, and zebra and quagga mussels.
Some of the speakers:
- "Predicting the Next Pest Invaders and How To Prevent Their Introduction," Joseph DiTomaso, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences
- “New Pest Plants,” Doug Johnson, California Invasive Plant Council, Berkeley
- “New Arthropod Pests,” Kevin Hoffman, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento
- ”New Plant Pathogens,” Richard Bostock, UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology
- ”Zebra and Quagga Mussels,” Ted Grosholz, UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy
- “European Grapevine Moth,” Lucia Varela, UC Cooperative Extension, Sonoma County
- ”Asian Citrus Psyllid/Huanglongbing,” Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Riverside Department of Entomology
- “Sudden Oak Death and Buy-Where-You-Burn Campaigns,” Janice Alexander, UC Cooperative Extension, Marin County, Novato.
- “Japanese Dodder, “Ramona Saunders, Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office
- “Newspaper Perspective,” Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee.
More information, including the full list of speakers, is available at http://crf.ucdavis.edu. Conference registration is taking place online at https://registration.ucdavis.edu. Bin at right shows Huanglongbing (HLB) symptoms caused by Asian citrus psyllid. At left: normal fruit.(Photo by S. Halbert, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services). For additional information, contact Kris Godfrey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 754 2104.
The conference, supported with a grant from the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ 2011 Spring Programmatic Initiative, is a cooperative project of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the UC Davis departments of Plant Pathology, Entomology, Plant Sciences, and Food Science and Technology, the California Center for Urban Horticulture at UC Davis, the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, and the UC Riverside Department of Entomology.
A side note: take a look at the oranges below and see the damage that the Asian citrus psyllid causes. The bin on the right shows small lopsided fruit, typical of HLB infection. The bin on the left shows normal-sized fruit. These photos were taken in Florida.
I ran into two members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Patrol this afternoon.
No, I wasn't at a border. I was merely walking the halls of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. The border patrol agents were there to meet with entomology department officials in Briggs Hall.
They handed me a pamphlet, "Don't Pack a Pest," urging vacationeers (who me? I didn't go anywhere on T-Day, honest, 'cept for an insect safari in my back yard) to bring back memories, not pests.
The pamphlet is a reprint of a news article written by Kate Campbell of the California Farm Bureau Federation and published in the May/June edition of California Country magazine.
The gist of the article: don't tuck food, seeds or plants in your luggage and try to smuggle them into California. "Although they (items) may seem harmless, discoveries like these illustrate that while California travelers are settling in after a long trip, so too are a host of damaging pests, plants and diseases that have hitchiked home with them," Campbell wrote.
At the San Francisco Airport, someone tried to sneak in a "whole shrink-wrapped piglet and a rice straw pillow from Mongolia, with potentially diseased grain still attached," Campbell wrote.
Then there are the seed smugglers, like the California executive who stuffed seeds into pouches tucked in his underwear.
Whoa! (The reason they nabbed him was because the border patrol had earlier flagged him as a high-risk seed smuggler.)
The pamphlet quoted California Food and Agriculture Secretary A. G. Kawamura: "The public has an important role to play in keeping pests out."
Here are some tips for travelers, courtesy of the pamphlet:
- When camping, check tents, tarps, ice chests and other gear for dirt and pests. Rinse and shake before stowing.
- Leave firewood behind, likewise kindling, sticks and leaves.
- Don't bring fresh fruit and vegetables back across the state boundaries, particularly from backyard or roadside trees and gardens
- Don't bring animal houses back--dog houses, poultry cages or rabbit hutches.
- Hose off bikes, motorcycles and boats.
- Check tubular equipment for dirt--hollow poles, pipes, folding chairs and rods.
- For boaters, never move live fish or other aquatic animals or plants from one body of water to antoher.
- Drain and dry all water and dry boats, equipment and gear and clean live-wells.
- Check waders and boots for caked-on dirt.
- Keep foodstuffs tightly closed to prevent bringing infestations home. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Don't dump aquarium plants and exotic fish into sewers, creeks or lakes.
- Know what you're planting in your garden by checking online at www.plantright.org. Most plants sold for use in gardens and landscaping do not invade or harm wildland areas, but a few vigorous species can--and do.
Want to report a suspective invasive plant or pest? Call the California Department of Food and Ag's Plant-Pest Hotline at (800) 491-1899.
Want to know what NOT to bring back to California? Go to www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/pe/ or call (916) 654-0312.
Aquatic invaders? Check the Department of Fish and Game's Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/invasives.
And to report a smuggler of prohibited exotic fruits, vegetables or meat products across international borders and into the U.S. or California, call the anti-smuggling hotline at (800) 877-3835.
As Campbell said, bring back memories, not pests.
Protecting California from invasive species costs some $85 million a year, according to www.plantright.org.
If you're interested in insects--the good, the bad and the ugly--don't miss the Northern California Entomology Society meeting on Thursday, Nov. 6 in Contra Costa County.
You don't have to be a member. No one is going to ask you "What are you doing here?" or comment "I guess they let just about anybody in now, huh?"
Fact is, this organization meets three times a year and the meetings are open to the public. You just have to express an interest in bugs--because they express an interest in you. (Especially mosquitoes!)
Insects have been on this earth about 400 million years and they've got this "live-life-for-all-it's-worth" down pat. Odds are, some insects will be at the meeting or just outside the door. Let me in!
The meeting begins at 9:15 a.m. with registration and coffee in the Contra Costa Mosquito Control and Vector District conference room, 155 Mason Circle, Concord.
Speakers will discuss the light brown apple moth, Asian citrus psyllid and other quarantined pests, announced president Susan Sawyer, area manager of Pest Detection/Emergency Projects, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Also planned: the election of officers.
Native pollinators--the good insects--also will be on the list of topics.
Native pollinators--the good insects--also will be on the list of topics.
9:30 a.m.: “Biocontrol of Light Brown Apple Moth, a Quarantine Pest in
10:15 a.m.: “
11 a.m.: “Native California Bees Looking for Cheap Urban Real Estate” by professor Gordon Frankie (or assistant), UC Berkeley
11:45 a.m.: Annual business meeting
1:15 p.m.: “Update on Asian Citrus Psyllid, a Quarantine Pest in
2 p.m.: “Overview of CDFA Pests, with Emphasis on Quarantine Pest” (CDFA speaker, to be announced)
The Northern California Entomoogy Society is comprised of university faculty, researchers, pest abatement professionals, students and other interested persons.
The group meets the first Thursday of February at the Hungry Hunter,
For more information, contact society president Susan Sawyer, CDFA, (916) 262-0855, or SSawyer@cdfa.ca.gov. Or contact society