Role of Biological Control
The California Department of Food and Agriculture initiated the biological control component of the Pierce’s Disease Control Program in 2000. The Program recognized that this control strategy could play two important roles:
- To reduce GWSS populations area-wide through the introduction of biological control agents new to the location.
- To reduce GWSS populations locally through the augmentation of biological control agents already present at the location.
The first CDFA biological control production facility was established in the spring of 2001 in the city of Riverside. The role of the facility was to collaborate with researchers at the University of California, Riverside, in the exploration, evaluation, and permitting of exotic biological control agents. Researchers at the facility also undertook pre-release evaluation of GWSS natural enemies in California and developed production techniques for the rearing of GWSS biological control agents. To facilitate the collaborative studies, a greenhouse was constructed by the CDFA on UCR property at the Agricultural Operations Station.
In the fall of 2001 an additional biological control production facility was established in Bakersfield. The responsibility of this facility was to produce, release, and evaluate GWSS biological control agents in Ventura County and the Central Valley. In the spring of 2004 production in Kern County was relocated to the outskirts of Arvin at the base of the Tehachapi mountain range. In addition to the PDCP Biological Control Group, the Arvin Research Facility houses the PDCP trapping staff for Kern County and the USDA-APHIS Area-Wide Treatment Programs for the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter.