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Joint ACP Biological Control Task Force Receives Prestigious CDPR IPM Achievement Award

 

     The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), honored four organizations for their achievements in reducing risk from pesticide use in a public ceremony on February 12, 2018.

     “The variety of award winners this year demonstrates that pests—both in agricultural and urban settings—can be managed successfully using effective, low-risk methods,” said DPR Director Brian Leahy. “Integrated pest management is fundamental for managing pests thoughtfully and effectively in California.”

     The IPM Achievement Awards recognize organizations that use integrated pest management (IPM) to address the diverse pest management needs throughout California. IPM is a tool that allows people to manage pests by using natural and preventative strategies, and thus reduces the use of chemical pesticides. The awards will be given in the areas of innovation, leadership, and education and outreach.

     The Citrus Research Board Joint Agency Biological Control Task Force was one of the four honorees.

     In 2010, the Citrus Research Board (CRB) established a task force to help control an invasive insect pest called Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a serious threat to the $3 billion California citrus industry. ACPs, which are as small as a grain of rice, can infect backyard citrus trees (and potentially commercial orchards) with a bacteria that causes a devastating plant disease called Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease. There is no cure for HLB and it is fatal to trees. The CRB Joint Agency Biological Control Task Force was created and is comprised of the Citrus Research Board, California Department of Food & Agriculture, University of California-Riverside, the United States Department of Agriculture and Cal Poly-Pomona.

     Instead of relying solely on conventional pesticides to fight this insect, the task force developed a program using natural predators as a means of reducing ACP populations. The Task Force imported, reared and studied parasitic wasps from Pakistan that kill ACPs. These wasps are a key part of the first biocontrol program that successfully targeted and reduced ACP populations in urban areas and citrus orchards while replacing large-scale, pesticide-driven campaigns in sensitive urban sites. At this time, the project has been successfully implemented in several counties, including Imperial, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties. The Task Force was honored for innovation and leadership.

The Citrus Research Board would like to congratulate the other three honorees; Hines Landscaping San Francisco, Manteca Unified School District Operations Department and Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District and thank CDPR for this honor.