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In memoriam: Les Ehler

Les Ehler
Lester Ervin “Les” Ehler, UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology, died Friday, Sept. 2. He was 70.

"Dr. Ehler had a remarkable career at UC Davis,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “In his research he built upon fundamental investigations in integrated pest management (IPM) to provide practical biological control for many different systems. Les was both a national leader in the discipline of biological control, and an outstanding citizen of the department and university.”

Ehler, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1973 and retired in 2008, championed the use of natural enemies to control agricultural pests and warned of the dangers of pesticides.

At UC Davis, Ehler battled pests such as obscure scale and aphids on oaks, stink bugs on tomato, aphids on sugar beet and white fir, and beet armyworm on alfalfa and sugar beet. His expertise ranges from the theory and practice of biological control to the ecology and management of insects and mites in natural, agricultural and urban environments.

“Les was a meticulous researcher and an excellent applied field ecologist,” said colleague and close friend UC Cooperative Extension specialist Larry Godfrey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “When he took on a research project, you were confident the project would be conducted well and all aspects of the system considered.  He made major contributions to our understanding of stink bug ecology and biological control of stink bugs. Les was also excellent at transferring his knowledge via classroom teaching.”

Ehler received his bachelor's degree in entomology from Texas Tech University, and his doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley. He joined UC Davis in 1973 as an assistant professor, advancing in 1985 to professor of entomology and entomologist in the Agricultural Experiment Station at UC Davis.

He is survived by son Brian of Susanville and daughter Mary Ehler Yung and husband, Eric, of Sacramento, and granddaughters Emma Yung and Georgiana Grace Yung.

Read more about Ehler's career at //

Posted on Monday, September 19, 2016 at 8:48 AM
  • Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey

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