RIVERSIDE – Old, new and untried methods of containing and eradicating destructive bugs will be the focus of a conference hosted next month by UC Riverside.
UCR Entomology Conference 2012 is scheduled for Sept. 19 at the South Coast Winery Resort and Spa on Rancho California Road in Temecula.
”This conference is an excellent occasion for the public to learn about a portion of the diverse work UCR entomologists are doing and the impact that this research has on the citizens of California,” Rick Redak, chair of the UCR Department of Entomology, said. ”The topics covered will demonstrate the results of our research as well as the many benefits this work is providing.”
The daylong event will include discussions about the success of using chemicals to combat pests, the discovery of new pests such as the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer and the threat posed by pests to crops.
Dr. Mark Hoddle, director of UCR’s Center for Invasive Species, will detail strategies being employed to eliminate the Asian citrus psyllid.
The fingertip-sized pests, which resemble moths, carry the disease huanglongbing – also known as ”citrus greening disease” – which is incurable and causes citrus trees to wither and die. Psyllids have been found throughout Southern California and are considered a major threat to the state’s $1.1 billion citrus industry.
Tiny wasps known as Tamarixa radiata are natural enemies of the psyllids. They lay eggs in psyllid nymphs, and the larvae feed on them.
In December, UCR entomologists began releasing the wasps in the university’s citrus fields in the hope the insects would prove an effective means to protect harvests.