Helping Chinese farmers step off the pesticide treadmill
Ten years ago, China had plenty of workers to hand weed their farmland, but with fewer young people choosing farming as a profession, the country is looking for quick chemical fixes to their pest management problems. UC IPM Advisor Anil Shrestha visited China to convince them that integrated pest management is by far the better long-term choice.
The International Executive Council, a nonprofit organization sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, was looking for a weed expert to help China with its weed problems. Last November, Shrestha, a weed ecologist, was invited by the organization to travel to Beijing and Feidong County in Anhui province, south China.
"Traditionally, the country has relied on a hand weeding system, but with so little manpower, they have resorted to herbicides for the last decade," says Shrestha. "The country has little access to many herbicides, and, as a result, growers use only two herbicides continuously. They needed help to identify weed species that were escaping the herbicides." | Read the full article |
On a foreign exploration trip through seven Caribbean Islands and the Gulf of Mexico last March, Phil Phillips, UC IPM advisor for the Central Coast, and colleague Mark Hoddle, determined that the avocado lace bug is not native to the Caribbean, as previously believed, but to tropical Mexico. This provides a focus for efforts to find the bug’s natural enemies for biological control.
The innate lethargic behavior of ALB, which doesn’t try to escape from potential threats by flying, jumping, running, or other rapid movement, suggests that ALB may use a chemical defense strategy to repulse potential natural enemies.
“With the introductions of Persea mite (early 1990s) and avocado thrips (1996) in recent years, the California avocado industry, with a robust production history based on biological control of arthropod pests, is concerned about new pest introductions,” says Phillips. “The introduction of new exotic pest species threatens the biological underpinnings of stable IPM programs.”
To understand more about the biology, origin, and possible natural enemies of the California population of ALB, the California Avocado Commission funded a foreign exploration trip into the Caribbean, the supposed origin of ALB, and Mexico. Phil Phillips and entomologist Mark Hoddle from UC Riverside traveled through the Caribbean Islands and the Gulf Coast of Mexico over a three-week period in March 2006. | Read the full article |
Next article >> Grants Research