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Winning T-Shirt Design Spotlights the Honey Bee

Danny Klitich's award-winnning design.
Apiculturists and beekeepers will love this T-shirt. So will anyone else who has an avid interest in honey bees, or even a passing interest.

It's all the buzz.

Graduate student Danny Klittich won the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association's annual t-shirt design contest with a design depicting a honey bee and the iconic hexagonal cells. 

Klittich, who is starting his third year as a doctoral student in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, studies with major professor Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the department. 

The T-shirt, publicly available for purchase, with proceeds benefitting EGSA, is golden yellow with a black illustration. Graduate student and T-shirt project coordinator Margaret “Rei” Scampavia is taking orders at mrsscampavia@ucdavis.edu. Sizes range from youth small to adult double X.

Klittich says he's not an artist but has always had an interest in honey bees. He was a member of the UC Davis graduate student team that won the student debate championship, Nov. 18, at the Entomological Society of America's  62nd annual meeting in Portland, Ore. The team debated neonicotinoids, defeating Auburn (Alabama) University team.   UC Davis successfully argued the con side of “Neonicotinoids Are Causing the Death of Bees Essential for Pollinating our Food Crops. The Use of Neonicotinoids Should End.” The team, captained by Mohammad-Amir Aghaee of the Larry Godfrey lab, also included Jenny Carlson, Anthony Cornel lab; Ralph Washington Jr., Steve Nadler lab; and Margaret "Rei" Scampavia, Neal Williams/Edwin Lewis lab.

Klittich's research focuses on increasing plant resistance to herbivorous and improving integrated pest management (IPM) programs in horticulture and floriculture. He is currently analyzing the effects of silicate fertilizers on leafmining pests in chrysanthemum and gerbera production systems.

Klittich, from Fillmore, is a graduate of Fillmore High School and valedictorian of the Class of 2006. He grew up in the nursery business, working at his family's nursery, Otto and Sons Nursery, Inc., Fillmore. During his youth he was active in 4-H and Boy Scouts, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

Klittich received his bachelor degree in entomology from UC Davis in 2010. Following his graduation, he worked in the Parrella laboratory, helping to maintain the greenhouses and experimental plants and assisting with pesticide efficacy trials on several crops and pests including spider mites, leafminer and mealbugs. He enrolled in the doctorate program in 2012 and continues his work in the Parrella lab.

The current president of EGSA, Klittich is active in the Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA) and ESA, the national organization. He was a member of the UC Davis championship team that won the ESA student debate in 2013. The subject: “Using GMOs to Using GMO's  to Technology is Not Universally Accepted – Con side." 

Klittich plans to receive his doctorate in 2016. His career goal: to pursue a career in pesticide and IPM research either in the private sector or in the California University System as a farm advisor. 

In addition to the honey bee t-shirt, EGSA is offering other T-shirts, most available for $15. Popular EGSA shirts depict a dung beetle, “They See Me Rollin'”; a “cuddling moth” for infants and toddlers; a weevil shirt, “See No Weevil, Hear No Weevil, Speak No Weevil”; and “The Beetles” shirt, of four beetles crossing Abbey Road, reminiscent of The Beatles pictured on their Abbey Road album. All can be ordered from Margaret “Rei” Scampavia at mrscampavia@ucdavis.edu.

 

Graduate student Danny Klittich with his prize-winning design. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Graduate student Danny Klittich with his prize-winning design. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Graduate student Danny Klittich with his prize-winning design. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Drone Acrobatics

The drone fly, aka European hover fly, aka syrphid fly, doesn't get as much press as the other drone, the unmanned aircraft.

But the drone fly (Eristalis tenax), about the size of a honey bee and often mistaken for a honey bee, makes for great in-flight photos. It's sort of the Fat Albert of the Blue Angels.

Last weekend we watched a drone fly (distinguished by the "H" on its abdomen), hovering over an Iceland poppy (Papaver nudicaule). The rain-battered poppy certainly wouldn't have won any gold awards in a county fair's garden show. 

But to the drone fly, bent on foraging, this was gold.  It emerged with "gold dust" (pollen) on its head.

Yes, its larva are known as rat-tailed maggots and yes, they frequent manure piles, sewage drainage ditches and other water-polluted areas.

But the adults are pollinators. Significant pollinators, at that.

A drone fly, aka hover fly and syrphid fly, engaging in a little acrobatics  over an Iceland poppy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A drone fly, aka hover fly and syrphid fly, engaging in a little acrobatics over an Iceland poppy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A drone fly, aka hover fly and syrphid fly, engaging in a little acrobatics over an Iceland poppy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Hover fly heading for an  Iceland poppy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Hover fly heading for an Iceland poppy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Hover fly heading for an Iceland poppy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This photo shows why drone flies are pollinators. Check out the pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This photo shows why drone flies are pollinators. Check out the pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This photo shows why drone flies are pollinators. Check out the pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Eighteen Myths About Insects and Spiders

UC Davis graduate student Alex Dedmon, who studies with forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, shows his butterfly tattoo, the work of entomology student Jessica Gillung. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Oh, the myths about insects and spiders!

It was a fun and educational afternoon when the UC Davis Bohart Museum  of Entomology hosted an open house last Sunday.

Visitors checked out the displays, asked the entomologists and staff questions, and looked over the list of myths.

Yes, there are a lot of myths.

We'll share! (Ask the person next to you if he/she can answer them. No fair peeking at the answers)

1. Butterflies and moths can't fly if you rub the scales of their wings.

Answer: Not true, they can fly.

2. Black widow females eat the males after mating.

Answer: Only if the male isn't fast enough.

3. Chiggers burrow under your skin and suck your blood.

Answer: False. Chiggers simply feed and leave, like mosquitoes.

4. Brown recluse spiders are common in California, biting many people.

Answer: Brown recluse spiders are not found anywhere near California.

5. Ultrasonic devices help keep pests out of your kitchen.

Answer. False. Few insects can hear, certainly not cockroaches.

6. Camel spiders scream like babes, inject toxins and prey on GI's in Iraq.

Answer: Not true at any level.

7. Mosquitoes transmit HIV.

Answer: They cannot transmit HIV under any circumstances.

8. Earwigs crawl into your ear and lay eggs in your brain.

Answer. They sometime do crawl in ears by accident, but do not lay eggs.

9. Bedbugs bore, burrow, dig and fly.

Answer: No, they can only walk or scurry.

10. Insects don't feel pain.

Answer: Probably true; their nervous systems are too limited, any injury would probably kill them.

11. It is illegal to catch preying mantids and monarchs.

Answer: There are no laws against this.

12. Twenty-five percent of the protein in our diet is from swallowing spiders that crawl in our mouths at night.

Answer: This never happens.

13. Love bugs that plague the southeastern United States are the result of government experiments.

Answer: No, Mother Nature came up with this.

14. Ten percent of the weight of your pillow is house dust mites.

Answer: False. House dust mites are found only in coastal southeastern United States.

15. All bees die after stinging.

Answer: False. Only worker honey bees die after stinging.

16. Ticks must be removed by rotating them clockwise.

Answer: False. Just pull the tick straight out.

17. "Daddy long legs" are deadly, but their jaws are too small to bite humans.

Answer: False. Their venom is no more poisonous than most spiders.

18. Copper pennies cure bee stings.

Answer. No, it just doesn't work.

The Bohart Museum of Entomology, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays (except holidays). It is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane (corner of LaRue and Crocker). It is home to nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a live "petting zoo" (think Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas) and a year-around gift shop filled with T-shirts, jewelry, insect collecting equipment, posters, books and insect-themed candy.

The beginning of a black widow spider tattoo, compliments of entomology Jessica Gillung of the Bohart. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The beginning of a black widow spider tattoo, compliments of entomology Jessica Gillung of the Bohart. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The beginning of a black widow spider tattoo, compliments of entomology Jessica Gillung of the Bohart. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomologist Fran Keller, who received her doctorate from UC Davis, smiles as student Jessica Gillung asks her which insect she wants. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomologist Fran Keller, who received her doctorate from UC Davis, smiles as student Jessica Gillung asks her which insect she wants. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomologist Fran Keller, who received her doctorate from UC Davis, smiles as entomology student Jessica Gillung asks her which insect she wants. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A youth looking at a ladybug display. The premise,
A youth looking at a ladybug display. The premise, "You can tell the age of a ladybug by counting its spots, is false. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A youth looking at a ladybug display. The premise, "You can tell the age of a ladybug by counting its spots, is false. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Dormant Sprays for Peach Leaf Curl

Foliage damaged by peach leaf curl.

Winter is a key time for gardeners to take preventive actions against peach leaf curl in some areas in California. Caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans, peach leaf curl causes distortion, thickening, and reddening of foliage as peach and nectarine...

Foliage damaged by peach leaf curl.
Foliage damaged by peach leaf curl.

Foliage damaged by peach leaf curl. [Photo by J.K. Clark]

Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014 at 3:03 PM
Tags: leaf curl (1), peach leaf curl (2), Pest Notes (25)

Concepts for preemergence herbicides in CA orchards and vineyards

It's that time of the year when we're planning preemergence (aka "residual") herbicide programs for orchard and vineyard crops in California.  Typically, these are the herbicides that are applied in the fall, winter, or early spring BEFORE weeds emerge (preemergence) and they usually affect weeds as they germinate or are just beginning to emerge from the soil. [often, people mistakenly think these herbicides kill seeds or sterilize the soil which is not actually the case].

As you're planning the specific program for the weed problems in your orchards and vineyards (or any site, really), I thought it would be a good time to review some of the concepts of residual weed control with preemergence herbicides.  Hopefully the concepts and ideas presented in the following line drawings will help us think about what PRE herbicides can and can't do, and how to best use them in the orchard and vineyard production system. 

Herbicide dissipation - Dissipation (or disappearance) is a word that describes both degradation processes and transfer processes.  Degradation is those processes that actually change the herbicide molecule into something else.  Transfer processes are those that change the availability and could include binding to soil, leaching, volatilization etc.  I won't dwell on those today but here's a link to a little longer writeup on that if you're interested.  For today's discussion, I'll just make the point that all herbicides dissipate in the soil environment and that this usually follows what is called "1st order" or "2nd order" degradation kinetics - basically a curved line (see figure 1 below).  This means that the processes happen faster at first and then slow down over time (red dashed line).  However, to more easily illustrate this (and because it's easier to draw!), I'll use straight lines instead (red solid line below).

The whole point of residual herbicides is that they persist in the soil for a period of time and affect weeds that germinate after the application (days or months later, perhaps).  There is a threshold of activity for the herbicide, basically this is a concentration in soil, above which the herbicide is effective on the weed and below which it is not (green dashed line in the figure below). This threshold will vary considerably among specific weeds and herbicides, though. [I've discussed this concept previously when talking about soil bioassays].  Another important concept on figure 2 is that residual herbicides can have very different dissipation rates which can result in different persistence in the soil, and different duration of residual weed control.  For example, a short residual herbicide (red line) will fall below the activity threshold (green line) well before a very persistent herbicide (blue line).

To a certain degree, the length of weed control duration with a preemergence herbicide is a function of rate.  A higher rate will remain above the activity threshold for longer than a lower rate of the same herbicide (see figure 3 below).  In this slide, I also added in the concept of winter and spring germinating weeds.  To me, this is one of the biggest challenges of using PRE herbicides in the orchard system - we typically apply our PRE herbicides in the winter when we'll get rainfall to incorporate them but the herbicides may dissipate too fast to control the late winter weeds or the summer-emerging weeds.  Higher application rates in the winter is one approach to addressing this issue.

Often times, we'll use a tankmix of two or more PRE herbicides in the winter to broaden the weed control spectrum and reduce selection pressure for herbicide resistant weeds.  While this is a good approach to managing diverse weeds, it does not really do much to "stretch" the weed control duration later into the summer because the dissipation processes of the individual herbicides are really independent of one another (see figure 4 below).  In this figure, you can imagine that the weed control spectrum is much broader during the winter season than if only one herbicide was used; however, by the spring, there is probably not enough of the 2nd herbicide to provide much control.

Sequential applications of PRE herbicides is another way that weed control duration might be extended later into the season.  This could be a sequence of two different herbicides as shown in figure 5 below where the first PRE herbicide was applied in the winter and a second PRE herbicide was applied in late spring.  This might also be done with a repeat application of the first herbicide which could make sense in some situations (for example one application to target winter grasses (eg ryegrass) and another to target summer grasses (eg junglerice).

I think integrated weed management programs that include preemergence herbicides make a lot of sense for orchard and vineyard cropping systems.  They can broaden the spectrum of weed control, they can reduce selection pressure for resistance to our POST herbicides, they can minimize spray trips through the field compared to multiple applications of POST herbicides, and can save management time.  Just like any management tool, though, it's important to recognize what the limitations of PRE herbicides and plan accordingly to avoid over- or under-treating in any specific orchard/weed complex.

Take care,

Brad

 

 

 

Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014 at 10:08 AM

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