Proactive IPM Solutions Awards

2024 Award

CDFA awarded funding for one project in this funding cycle for the Proactive IPM Solutions grant program. Dr. Mark Hoddle at UC Riverside received $501,136 award to refine a low impact Attract and Kill program for the South American palm weevil. This invasive pest threatens California's date industry but is not yet found in agricultural areas. The project, titled 'Development of a Proactive IPM Program for the California Date Industry: Optimizing Attract and Kill for Managing the Invasive South American Palm Weevil' utilizes pheromone-baited traps to lure and eliminate weevils, a strategy that is called Attract and Kill. The weevil's innate attraction to its male-produced aggregation pheromone is used against itself. Large-scale field trials in San Diego County will assess the efficacy of this strategy against the weevils. This proactive IPM work aims to provide California date growers with a sustainable and reduced-insecticide control tool that can be rapidly deployed if the South American palm weevil invades date palm production areas.

2023 Award

CDFA awarded funding for two projects in this funding cycle for the Proactive IPM Solutions grant program with each receiving $500,000. The first is proactive control of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), which is presently the most devastating invasive insect pest of forests in the continental United States, led by Dr. Ricky Lara from CDFA's Integrated Pest Control Branch. The second is proactive control of the Cotton Seed Bug (CSB), which was detected in Los Angeles County in 2019 and subsequently confirmed in Orange, San Diego, and Riverside counties, posing a significant threat to the California cotton growers. This project will be led by Dr. Mark Hoddle from the University of California Riverside.

These projects are developing biological control strategies that require lengthy research before being approved for use. They will give California growers and CDFA a head-start in using integrated pest management for these pests.

2022 Award

CDFA awarded funding for one project in this funding cycle for the Proactive IPM Solutions grant program. The project ‘Can Anastatus spp. (Hymenoptera: Eupelmidae) Egg Parasitoids from California and Arizona Provide Control of Spotted Lantern Fly?’ by Dr. Mark Hoddle was awarded $498,896. This project has one objective, to determine if species of Anastatus from CA and AZ have potential to parasitize eggs of SLF. Anastatus spp. tend to be primary egg parasitoids attacking eggs of Hemiptera, Lepidoptera, and Orthoptera. The biology of the majority of described species is poorly known. However, rearing records suggest that numerous species may be polyphagous and capable of successfully parasitizing eggs of different species. Identification of parasitoid species capable of parasitizing SLF eggs may provide insight into what levels if biotic resistance could be expected from resident natural enemies and if one or more of these species, if determined to have biocontrol potential against SLF, could be amenable to mass rearing and use in augmentative release programs targeting small highly localized SLF populations that are likely to be encountered in urban areas during the initial stages of an invasion.

2021 Award

CDFA awarded funding for one project in this funding cycle for the Proactive IPM Solutions grant program. The project ‘Proactive Classical Biological Control of Tuta absoluta in California’ by Dr. Brian Hogg was awarded $499,495. Proactive development of cost-effective options for T. absoluta management in California will be critical to maintain competitive tomato production in the event that this pest arrives and establishes in the United States. In response to this problem, the primary objective of this project is to develop a proactive classical biological control program that uniquely targets T. absoluta, is naturally self-sustaining, and bolsters statewide pest management in the California tomato system.

2020 Awards

CDFA awarded funding for three projects in this funding cycle for the Proactive IPM Solutions grant program.

  1. A proactive approach to prepare for the invasion of Tuta absoluta into California by Dr. Ian Grettenberger was awarded $499,847: This project will address the South American tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta, a devastating pest of tomatoes of high concern to California. If T. absoluta invades California, there will be an immediate need for management information to address its spread and to protect tomato production. Because T. absoluta has been spreading through other parts of the world, there is the opportunity to adapt existing knowledge to our state as tools are developed in California. Management tactics will likely include chemical management, biological control via indigenous and introduced natural enemies, and cultural management through variety resistance and plant breeding. Information on these methods will help growers and officials in the short-term and will help provide long-term solutions for T. absoluta in California. This project will determine the efficiacy of organic and conventional insecticides against T. absoluta, identify indigenous parasitoids that may attack T. absoluta, determine the host suitability of wild Solanum spp. from coastal western South America, and extend results to the relevant audiences.
  2. Detection, biology and control of the exotic Swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii) for California cole crops by Dr. Alejandro Del-Pozo was awarded $261,543. California leads the nation in the production of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower, and cole crops are within the top 20 commodities for the state. The Swede midge, Contarinia nasturtii, is an exotic pest that is already in the northeastern region of the US, as well as Canada, and has attacked several cole crops under field conditions, damaging growing points and reducing plant stand. Currently, conventional cole crops growers have been able to manage this pest using chemical tools and cultural control tactics such as recognizing hot spots and avoiding certain crop rotations. However, organic growers in NY are still suffering damage from this midge which translates into economically significant yield losses. This project will test pheromone-based trapping and identification, do climate matching for Swede midge development in California, definite the role of weeks on population dynamics, test the use of botanical extracts and other insecticides for Swede midge management, and extend all current information to California growers.
  3. Proactive Management of Avocado Seed and Stem Feeding Weevils, Heilipus spp. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Molytinae) by Dr. Mark Hoddle was awarded $348,893 with an additional $150,000 from the CA Avocado Commission. Avocado seed feeding weevils and avocado branch boring weevils in the genus Heilipus have been identified as high incursion threats to California, the largest producer of US-grown avocados, a specialty crop with a net worth of ~$350 million per year. One of these pest weevils, the big seed weevil, H. lauri, has been intercepted in the USA in avocado fruit exported from regions where this pest is native (e.g., Mexico) and invasive (Colombia). Recently, four possible components of the aggregation pheromone for H. lauri were identified. This project will determine the components and ratios needed for effective lures, run field trials in Mexico to test the lures, evaluate weevil traps, determine dispersal potential of Heilipus spp., and survey Mexican avocadoes for other pests of concern to California.

2019 Awards

CDFA awarded funding for one project in the initial funding cycle for the Proactive IPM Solutions grant program. The three-year project titled “Proactive Biological Control of Spotted Lantern Fly, Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae)” was awarded $543,936. Project leads Mark Hoddle (UC Riverside) and Kent Daane (UC Berkeley) will proactively develop biological control agents for spotted lantern fly, an invasive pest that has not yet arrived in California but is spreading rapidly across the eastern US. This pest has the potential to affect many high value California crops including grapes, walnuts, avocados, and pistachios. The project will piggyback on work that is already being conducted on the pest in the eastern US.