ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

In memoriam: Oscar Bacon

Oscar Bacon. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey.
Oscar Gray Bacon, UC Davis professor emeritus in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, died Nov. 16 at his home in Davis. He was 97.

Bacon, who served UC for 41 years and chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology from 1967 to 1974, specialized in the biology, ecology and population dynamics of insects associated with field crops. In 1946, Bacon took his first job with UC in entomology as an associate in the Agriculture Experiment Station at UC Berkeley.

In 1953, he moved to UC Davis to develop his own entomology programs. He taught the first UC Davis biological control course and was instrumental in forming the Plant Protection and Pest Management Graduate Group. He is credited with co-authoring the term, “integrated pest control.”

Robbin Thorp, UC Davis professor emeritus, collaborated with Bacon on research of alfalfa leafcutter bees in the mid-1960s.

“Oscar and his crew also tested pesticide effects on these bees and discovered a number of biological traits important to their management as commercial pollinators," Thorp said. "Oscar co-authored the first Cooperative Extension publication on the alfalfa leafcutting bees with several of us.”

He earned his bachelor's degree at Fresno State College in zoology, then went on to earn his master's degree in entomology in 1944 and his doctorate in entomology in 1948, both from UC Berkeley.

For more about Bacon's career, read the full story by Kathy Keatley Garvey at //


Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 8:20 AM
  • Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey


At age 86 and retired for more than a couple of decades now,I still have fond memories of Professor Bacon. In the mid-1960s his department was housed in Hunt Hall, along with the Agronomy and Plant Pathology departments. As a recently hired member of the Agronomy department, I chanced to meet up with Prof Bacon in the first-floor hallway one day. He greeted me cordially, as though inviting further conversation. Worried about my future survival in this heady and challenging environment, I asked for his advice.  
He stopped for a brief moment, then replied, simply: "Become an expert in something." Sage advice indeed; his words contained volumes of understanding of how the UC system works.

Posted by Charles A Raguse on November 29, 2016 at 2:38 PM

Login to leave a comment.

Read more

Webmaster Email: