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Light brown apple moth on UC's radar

The light brown apple moth is getting publicity in the California media and attention from UC scientists. Just yesterday the Monterey Herald ran a story on local concerns about the new pest. The pest's discovery last February has been widely reported in the ag trades, such as California Farmer, and other general media outlets, like the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Associated Press. To date, light brown apple moth has been spotted in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Marin, Santa Clara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Napa counties.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture assembled a 10-member technical workgroup to make recommendations about dealing with the new pest. Two UC scientists are part of the committee: UC Riverside entomologists Ring Cardé and Marshall Johnson. In a phone conversation with Johnson this morning, he said the workgroup decided at its recent meeting to recommend that CDFA aim to eradicate the pest from the state.

"If we don't control it now, it could get to the San Joaquin Valley, the Sacramento Valley, Oregon, Washington State and other parts of the U.S.," Johnson said.

Johnson said the workgroup suggested CDFA focus its efforts in places where the highest numbers of moths have been found, such as Soquel (the northeast part of Monterey Bay), and places where just a couple of moths have been found.

"If eradication attempts are successful in these areas, then we can spread out to the rest," Johnson said the workgroup recommended.

Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 10:03 AM

Tristeza-infected trees removed at Lindcove

The top story in the Fresno Bee business section this morning reports on the relatively high number of citrus trees that had to be removed at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center this year due to citrus tristeza virus infection.

Reporter Robert Rodriguez interviewed Lindcove director Beth Grafton-Cardwell. According to the article, she told him that the number of cotton aphids, the pest that is spreading the disease from tree to tree, was high this year.

"We had the best-case scenario for transmitting the virus," Grafton-Cardwell was quoted in the story. "And that's why we saw the numbers jump up."

Citrus trees at the Lindcove REC are the parents of most of California's commercial citrus trees. Nurseries rely on the center's true-to-type bud wood to propagate trees for the industry. But a delay in bud wood release isn't the only side effect of the spread of tristeza virus.

Grafton-Cardwell told the Bee: "The disease problem we have right now has not only affected our abilty to release clean bud wood, but it affects our research as well."

Perhaps the Fresno Bee's headline writer said it best when he topped Rodriguez' story with the title: "Virus bedevils citrus growers."

Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 12:08 PM

Podcast gets UC's take on sustainability

The Web site Science and Society posted a podcast last week of an in depth interview with Tom Tomich, director of the ANR Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. Tomich also is director of the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute.

According to its Web site, Science and Society's audio program focuses on medical breakthroughs, energy and the environment, space exploration, nanotechnology, and K-12 science education. It aims to promote public awareness and understanding of science and enhancement and enrichment of math and science education.

When host David Lemberg opened the show with Tomich by asking him to define "sustainability," he quoted a phrase from "Our Common Future," a 1987 report from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development. Sustainable development, Tomich said, "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."

To go directly to the podcast, click here.

Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 10:22 AM

Heat stress again in the news.

The ABC news television affiliate in Fresno reported last night that the death of a farmworker in the San Joaquin Valley two weeks ago may have been due to heat stress. The 54-year-old Mexican national died next to a packing house on the outskirts of Kettleman City.

A prolonged heat wave last summer prompted UC Cooperative Extension to gather information for the public about avoiding heat-related illnesses. Articles on the how the body handles heat and how to cope with heat are included in a heat stress media kit available online. A downloadable information card in pdf format has the basics in easy-to-read English and Spanish. In addition, audio messages about coping with heat may be accessed by calling UC's phone-in message system AsisTel at 1-800-514-4494.

The messages related to heat stress are:
No. 161- Why heat stress happens
No. 162 - How to avoid heat related illnesses
No. 163 - Employers role in combating workers’ heat stress
No. 164 - Heat stress doesn’t only happen in hot weather

Posted on Friday, May 25, 2007 at 9:35 AM

Summer news tips for the media

Even though the first day of summer is toward the end of June, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the season for sun and recreation. The UC Agriculture and Natural Resources communicators network have taken this opportunity to compile news tips that will be of interest to the media and their clientele during the summer months.

Each tip can stand alone, providing useful information to make the summer safer, plus includes the name, phone number and e-mail address of a UC academic expert on the topic who can provide additional information if a reporter wishes to flesh out a story. The topics are:

-Food safety in the ‘Good Old Summertime’
-Preventing the itch
-Rattlesnake season poses concerns for pets and other animals
-Death cap mushrooms spreading in California
-Insects are biological indicators of water quality
-Know your watershed before you eat fish
-Thirsty children and pesticides
-Swimmers’ handmade dams are havens for pesky black flies

Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 10:27 AM

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