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Posts Tagged: spotted

ESA Journal Targets the Spotted-Wing Drosophila

It was a major project, a long time coming, and what an excellent resource for those studying the spotted-wing drosophila, a worldwide threat to the...

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Posted on Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 10:29 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development, Environment, Food, Health, Innovation, Natural Resources, Pest Management

Spotted Cucumber Beetles: They Know How to Hit the Spot

Western spotted cucumber beetles know how to hit the spot. Make that "multiple spots."  These...

Wide angle shot of a western spotted cucumber beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata, chewing a hole in a petal of a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifola. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Wide angle shot of a western spotted cucumber beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata, chewing a hole in a petal of a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifola. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Wide angle shot of a western spotted cucumber beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata, chewing a hole in a petal of a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifola. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a western spotted cucumber beetle chewing a hole in a Mexican sunflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of a western spotted cucumber beetle chewing a hole in a Mexican sunflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a western spotted cucumber beetle chewing a hole in a Mexican sunflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The end result: a Mexican sunflower you wouldn't want to enter in a county fair. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The end result: a Mexican sunflower you wouldn't want to enter in a county fair. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The end result: a Mexican sunflower you wouldn't want to enter in a county fair. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a western spotted cucumber beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of a western spotted cucumber beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a western spotted cucumber beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, August 4, 2022 at 10:00 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources, Pest Management, Yard & Garden

UC Cooperative Extension helps raise the alarm on a looming insect threat

Strikingly beautiful with a striped yellow abdomen and ruby red and black polka dot wings, the spotted lanternfly's esthetic appeal belies its destructive nature.

“Spotted lantern fly is a major threat to apples, grapes, stone fruits, roses, landscape trees and the timber industry,” said Surendra Dara, UC Cooperative Extension entomology and biologicals advisor in San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. “The agricultural industry and the public need to be looking out for this insect to prevent its migration and establishment in California.”

An adult spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania with its wings spread. (Photo: Surendra Dara)

Native to China, spotted lanternflies were first introduced into the United States in 2014 when their presence was confirmed in Berks County, Penn. They have since established populations in New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Maryland. Spotted lanternflies are little more than a nuisance in their native range because they evolved along with controlling factors – such as predators and microbes – that achieved a natural balance. But when they arrive in new territory, the pest multiplies quickly and ravages plants.

While quarantine, management and research aim to control the pest where it has already taken hold, Dara is amplifying warnings of the pests' dire potential in agriculture-rich California and its ability to clandestinely hitchhike across the country. He held a webinar in May that attracted 130 participants from across California and the West, created a video, and posted articles in his eJournal and the Journal of Integrated Pest Management about current distribution, pest detection efforts and management strategies.

Inch-long adult spotted lanternflies have a nearly three-inch wingspan. Like giant aphids, the immature and mature stages of the pest suck sap out of plants and trees, depleting nutrients and reducing plant vigor, Dara said. While feeding, they emit waste sugars that cover plant leaves and invite fungi to grow black sooty mold, a coating that inhibits the plants' photosynthesis.

“SLFs can kill the host,” Dara said. “However, some survive because, when the plants start to die, the pest goes away to search for a healthier host, giving the plant the opportunity to recover.”

In the eastern U.S., residents say spotted lanternflies affect their quality of life and ability to enjoy the outdoors. The pest covers trees, swarms in the air and their honeydew can coat decks and playground equipment.

The spotted lanternfly egg mass looks like a splash of mud. (Photo: Surendra Dara)

Spotted lanternfly movement is aided by females' ability to lay their nondescript egg masses on smooth surfaces of natural and human made objects, such as packages sent from distribution centers, long-haul trucks, railroad containers, recreational vehicles and automobiles.

“The egg masses are covered with a waxy gray-brown coating that looks like a splash of mud,” Dara said. “You may not notice it.”

Studies are underway to determine SLF egg-laying preferences.

Another concern for California in the face of a potential SLF infestation is the abundance of tree-of-heaven, itself an exotic pest from China and spotted lanternflies' favorite host.  Tree-of-heaven – with roots, leaves and bark used in traditional Chinese medicine – was brought to California by Chinese migrant workers during the Gold Rush. Its tendency to grow rapidly and multiply quickly has resulted in its designation as a noxious weed.

Tree-of-heaven does offer a potential control strategy should SLF come to California. Landowners can remove 85% of tree-of-heaven specimens in a grove, including all the female plants. The remaining 15% of tree-of-heaven will be irresistible to spotted lanternfly. The insects will congregate in the trees, which may be treated with systemic insecticides to kill the entire population.

This is just one potential spotted lanternfly control strategy that could be part of an integrated pest management program. Other potential options Dara shared in his webinar and other communications are:

Traditional biocontrol. A parasitic wasp introduced into the United States in 1908 to control gypsy moths also appears to parasitize SLF eggs. Research may permit the introduction of other harmless natural SLF enemies from the pest's native range.

Microbial control. Naturally occurring fungi or those available as biopesticides can bring down SLF populations.

Mechanical control. Sticky bands placed on tree or vine trunks will trap the pest as it moves about.

Outreach. Communicate widely the concern about egg mass transport so people will inspect packages and vehicles and destroy egg masses.

The red arrow points to a resting spotted lanternfly on a Pennsylvania grapevine trunk. (Photo: Surendra Dara)
Posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 8:01 AM
Focus Area Tags: Pest Management

California agriculture is watching for invasive spotted lanternflies

The Fresno Bee has raised the alert for spotted lanternflies, a devastating pest from India, Vietnam and China that may be making inroads in California, the No. 1 agricultural area of the nation.

Spotted lanternfly is a striking insect. (Photo: USDA)
Reporter Ryan Sabalow wrote that winegrape grower and vintner Warren Bogle likened the pest to the coronavirus. “We definitely don't want them here,” he said. 

Reports of spotted lanternflies in California have been minimal to date. Agricultural inspectors found several dead lanternflies on cargo planes in Sacramento, Stockton and Ontario, and experts say a live spotted lanternfly may have been seen on the wall of a hotel in Davis in September. No others have been found alive, the article said.

Surendra Dara, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Luis Obispo County, said the lanternfly does pose a particular challenge for California, but the hope is that in the next few years, researchers will have the tools to wipe them out. The most likely method would be to use a “biological” method, such as introducing a natural enemy from Asian to manage the population.

“With a strong insect, just like the virus everybody is dealing with now, you need to understand the biology,” Dara said. “You have to understand every aspect of it. The more we know the better we can handle the situation.”

For more in spotted lanternfly, read an update on the invasive spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula: current distribution, pest detection efforts, and management strategies, by Dara on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website.

 
Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 9:09 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Let's Hear It for Biocontrol, Integrated Pest Management

Let's hear it for biocontrol. You've seen lady beetles, aka ladybugs, preying on aphids. But have you seen an assassin bug attack a spotted...

An assassin bug drills a pest, a spotted cucumber beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
An assassin bug drills a pest, a spotted cucumber beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An assassin bug drills a pest, a spotted cucumber beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lady beetle, aka ladybug, snares an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A lady beetle, aka ladybug, snares an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lady beetle, aka ladybug, snares an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A crab spider munches on a stink bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A crab spider munches on a stink bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A crab spider munches on a stink bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A great blue heron engages in a little pest management: it catches a rodent, a meadow vole, at Bodega Bay. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A great blue heron engages in a little pest management: it catches a rodent, a meadow vole, at Bodega Bay. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A great blue heron engages in a little pest management: it catches a rodent, a meadow vole, at Bodega Bay. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The great blue heron gets its prey, a meadow vole, in position before swallowing it whole. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The great blue heron gets its prey, a meadow vole, in position before swallowing it whole. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The great blue heron gets its prey, a meadow vole, in position before swallowing it whole. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, August 23, 2019 at 3:37 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Environment, Food, Innovation, Pest Management, Yard & Garden

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