Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests (Part 2)

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests (Part 2)

 Click here for Part I that focuses on how natural insect predators helped fight the ACP pest in Florida

Add plant diversity to your gardens. Also make sure you have flowering plants year-round. Ecologists say these key recommendations will usher in natural predators to our gardens and orchards to combat pests.

These tips can even help ward off the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) that is alarmingly moving into our citrus trees after devastating the citrus in Florida. [Read more…]

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests — Especially the Asian psyllid (Part 1)

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests — Especially the Asian psyllid (Part 1)

Note: This is a two part article – More info on attracting native predator insects for pests, photos and references  is here

Ken Kupfer is a popular speaker on biological control, which is the use of natural enemies to manage pests and their damage. While his work with organic and sustainable growers finds Kupfer in California nearly half of the year, he resides in Florida. There he personally witnessed the infestation of the Asian citrus psyllid, referred to as ACP. After devastating the Florida citrus industry, the ACP has unfortunately made its way to California.

“In Florida, the [mandated] use of systemic pesticides and foliar pesticides for citrus crops has really saturated the environment and it of course kills 99% of other bugs it comes in contact with”  Ken Kupfer

[Read more…]

Continuing Rat Poison Concerns (and Update)

Continuing Rat Poison Concerns (and Update)

We’ve encountered two dead mature rats in our yard the last month. Neither had marks, indicating they were not killed by a critter or injury. So we conjecture they succumbed to rat poison put out by neighbors or more likely, the pest companies they have employed. I’ve written a series on the rodent issues, including problems with secondary poisoning (see Our Ailing Wildlife ) but it seems a reminder is warranted. [Read more…]

The Consequences of Pesticides in Citrus Pest Treatment – and references

The Consequences of Pesticides in Citrus Pest Treatment – and references

An op-ed article I wrote for the Redlands Daily Facts, entitled “Understanding the Consequences of Asian Psyllid Treatment,” is being published tomorrow. It was prompted when I noted that articles were not mentioning the negative effects of the recommended pesticide treatments for an alarming pest that is attacking citrus trees. Some important background first: our area is resuming treatments for the Asian Citrus Psyllid, the bug responsible for devastating Florida citrus, which has made its way to Southern California. Most commercial groves have been treated. Now residents have the option to have their backyard citrus trees treated. Many of these points apply these common pesticides being used of other uses also.

Here are my main points after doing research on this subject, plus references are listed below: [Read more…]

Pollinator killing plants: questions to ask nurseries

Pollinator killing plants: questions to ask nurseries

I’ve been besieged with a lot of email petitions recently about  a pesticide called neonicotinoids (neonics for short), found in some plants sold by nurseries, which has been shown to kill bees, butterflies and other pollinators – so the word is definitely out. When pollinators visit the flowers or caterpillars eat the leaves of the pre-treated plant, they die. There’s a concern to humans too, as herbs also are being sprayed (see example below).  So what can we do? I received info from the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) in Seattle WA, regarding questions people should ask their nurseries.

[Read more…]

Positive News for Wildlife

Positive News for Wildlife

I admit to not reading some environmental news because it can get so depressing. So, here’s some recent positive news, including two in California. One thing I do appreciate about living in California is the state is a leader in environmental thinking.

[Read more…]

Rodent Poisons: What Communities are Doing (Part 3)

Rodent Poisons: What Communities are Doing (Part 3)

I heard some coyotes howling the other night and what a comforting sound. I hadn’t heard them for many months and with my last article on this subject opening with a sick coyote, it was nice to hear them sound healthy. I tried not to think about the rabbit or rodent they were probably about to eat. We’ve also seen some rats but thank goodness they’re all outside.

This is third in a series on rodent control, this one focusing on what communities, organizations and businesses are doing – and not doing [Read more…]