Blog posts by pests and pesticides

Written by Zea Sonnabend on Monday, May 15, 2017 on education, grower, help and tips, pests and pesticides

Spring is the time to anticipate pest problems that may emerge with the warmer weather of summer. It is a good time to remember what to look out for and to take some preventative steps to keep ahead of the pests. After the very wet winter in California, we might be about to experience an abundance of some of these pests, as well as invasive plants.   Because in California we grow so many crops over such a long season, there are always pests of concern.  Some pests are already under quarantine in certain regions, while other species are not quarantined but are worth preparing for. This blog...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, policy


The stakes are high in the fight to save California citrus from the threat of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and the disease it spreads, Huanglongbing (HLB) (also known as citrus greening). In Florida, more than 90 percent of commercial citrus trees are estimated to have HLB, and there has been a 70 percent decline in production, with an economic impact of $7.8 billion. California growers and government have invested heavily in trying to contain the spread of the pest and disease. Because of this, and somewhat because of the varied geography of California compared to Florida, the pest has not...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 12, 2016 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, policy

The fourth issue of Bagrada Bug News, a free newsletter dedicated to developing organic management strategies and biocontrol of the bagrada bug, is now available online. Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, is an invasive stinkbug that first appeared in California in 2008. A prolific breeder with few organic control options, the pest has caused significant economic losses for organic growers, particularly in brassica crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and other mustard family members. CCOF joined with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to form a Bagrada Bug Working Group in...
Written by Guest Blogger on Friday, October 21, 2016 on pests and pesticides, research


A California Deptartment of Food and Agriculture grant proposal, Biological Control of Bagrada Bug, Bagrada Hilaris (Pentatomidae), was selected for funding by the 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. This project will provide a sustainable pest management strategy for suppressing this pest in California. First reported in the United States in 2008, the bagrada bug has spread throughout agricultural areas of Imperial and Riverside counties, up through the Central Valley, and along the coast from San Diego to Monterey Bay. Currently, the only means for controlling this pest is the use of...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 19, 2016 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, policy


The third edition of the Bagrada Bug News is now available to read and print on demand. This edition reports on work being conducted in California and France to test promising natural enemies of bagrada bug. Scientists collected three species of wasps that lay their eggs in bagrada bug eggs, thus killing the nymphs inside, in South Africa and Pakistan and are now assessing their potential for release as natural predators of bagrada bug in California. This issue also features a lengthy article on the role of weeds as refuge for bagrada bug in California’s Salinas Valley. Shortpod mustard and...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, August 15, 2016 on pests and pesticides, research


Cole Crops

As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service’s efforts to develop a biological control program for the bagrada bug, the laboratory of Dr. Brian Hogg at the USDA in Albany, California, is investigating whether any native predators or parasitic wasps attack bagrada bug eggs. The laboratory is currently looking for organic farms growing cole crops in the Central Valley to include in its survey. Any cole crops will work for the study, although fields with a history of bagrada bug infestation would be ideal. The study involves placing frozen bagrada bug eggs (...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 1, 2016 on pests and pesticides


The disease-carrying pest Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) has moved north from southern California and now threatens the central and northern regions of the state. To combat the pest, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has increased areas under quarantine, mounted a comprehensive search-and-destroy effort, and is preparing to release swarms of psyllid-killing wasps to route the pest. ACP Impact and Challenges ACP carries a bacterium that causes a deadly disease in citrus trees and related tree species called huanglongbing or citrus greening disease. Infected trees first...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 29, 2016 on advocacy, grower, pests and pesticides, policy

The Bagrada Bug Working Group has launched its first issue of the quarterly publication Bagrada Bug News. The Bagrada Bug Working Group is a collaboration between CCOF and researchers at CDFA’s Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services, UC Cooperative Extension, USDA-ARS, UC Davis, UC Riverside, and University of Arizona. The working group convened in 2015 to address the challenge of managing this emerging pest in organic mustard-family crop production. The working group’s first major activity was holding a public meeting in December 2015 in Salinas. Six scientific talks on bagrada bug...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 23, 2015 on grower, pests and pesticides, policy

CCOF, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and University of California Cooperative Extension are hosting a meeting on the invasive stinkbug Bagrada bug on Friday, December 11 at the Cooperative Extension office in Salinas from 9:30 a.m – 3 p.m. Click here to register for the meeting. The meeting is free of charge and will include lunch for onsite participants courtesy of CCOF and the University of California Cooperative Extension Entomology Program. The meeting will also be broadcast as a webinar, allowing remote participants the ability to hear all presentations and interact...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 9, 2015 on grower, pests and pesticides, policy

CCOF is collaborating with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), scientists from numerous agencies, and Cooperative Extension on a Bagrada Bug Working Group. The working group brings together scientists and extension personnel from across the country who are working to develop organic management and biological control of Bagrada bug. What is Bagrada bug? The Bagrada bug is a member of the stinkbug family that has wreaked havoc in mustard-family crops over the past six years. A native of Africa, it has no natural enemies in the U.S. and has spread from southern California...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 on grower, pests and pesticides

The Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) is spreading throughout California. Organic and non-organic citrus growers are concerned about the spread of ACP because it can spread HuanLongBing (HLB), also known as Citrus Greening disease. This report is an update on activities around detection, quarantine, and control of ACP and HLB.In the last three months, a number of new ACP finds in new counties are causing quarantined areas to expand rapidly. New quarantines exist in Madera, Fresno, and Santa Clara counties where recent finds have indicated breeding populations of ACP. View the statewide map and...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, November 7, 2014 on pests and pesticides

The Pest and the Damage Done The invasive stinkbug known as the Bagrada bug continues to hopscotch its way through California. First found in Los Angeles County in 2008, it is now found throughout the state as far north as Yolo County. The pest has caused damage to many organic crops this summer and fall, primarily to mustard family crops including kale, arugula, broccoli, cabbage, collards, and other mustard greens. Bagrada bug also has caused damage to peppers, melons, tomatoes, corn, snap beans, and sunflowers. Female (top), mating pair (middle), and a mature nymph (bottom) of Bagrada bug...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 8, 2014 on materials and inputs, pests and pesticides

CCOF encourages you to review California’s proposed plan for invasive plant pest management. A draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) describing the plan is open for comment through October 31, 2014. In a recent press conference, Sandy Schubert, undersecretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), stated that the plan offers CDFA’s best assessment of on-the-ground pest management practices and details the state’s decision-making process in taking pest management actions. Laura Petro, CDFA’s Senior Environmental Scientist, said, “This report reflects California’s...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, July 14, 2014 on grower, pests and pesticides, research


Citrus greening disease, also known by its Chinese name Huanglongbing, threatens the citrus industry on a massive scale. It has devastated millions of acres of citrus crops throughout the United States and abroad, ravaging citrus in countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. The highly destructive disease can spread quickly, and once a tree is infected it cannot be cured. Citrus greening is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, a small insect that transmits the disease as it feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees. These psyllids are prolific breeders, with each female laying up to 800...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 on grower, materials and inputs, pests and pesticides


Organic citrus growers have spent more than a year now wading through the decision-making process for policies regarding the spread and eradication of Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) and the deadly disease it can spread, Huanglongbing (HLB) or Citrus Greening. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) relies on a group of scientists known as the Science Advisory Panel (SAP) for recommendations about trapping and testing protocols, eradication zones, quarantines, and which materials are approved for control and/or eradication. The SAP met in December in Ontario, CA and issued their...

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