Frank Zalom: Lifetime IPM Achievement Award

His name is synonymous with integrated pest management (IPM) and his achievements during his 45-year career are nothing short of spectacular. 

So it's no surprise that UC Davis distinguished professor emeritus Frank Zalom, internationally recognized for his IPM expertise and leadership,  is the recipient of a Lifetime IPM Achievement Award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR).

Zalom, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, and formerly, the 16-year director of the UC Statewide IPM Program, will be honored at CDPR's IPM Achievement Awards virtual ceremony at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 29. Four other individuals or organizations also will receive the 2023 awards. (Register here  to access the Zoom ceremony.)

CDPR praised Zalom for “advancing IPM practices in California specialty crops as a preeminent researcher, practitioner and champion of sustainable pest management.”

The Lifetime IPM Achievement Award recognizes individuals with 20 or more years of research, professional practice, or outreach in IPM-related sectors.

“Dr. Zalom's work has contributed greatly to advancing safe, effective, and sustainable IPM practices in specialty crops such as almonds, strawberries, tomatoes, and olives,” a CDPR spokesman said. “Through hundreds of presentations and publications, Dr. Zalom has contributed to broad adoption of IPM practices for numerous agricultural pests, resulting in less insecticide use and reduced run-off impacts and high-risk pesticide exposures.”

Zalom officially retired in 2018 but continues his IPM research and outreach efforts as a recall professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology. He also serves as advisor to the California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis, and a science advisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, 3rd District,  issued a Senate proclamation heralding his “outstanding contributions” to the state of California: “Dr. Zalom's distinguished 40-plus year career as a leading researcher, practitioner, and advocate for integrated pest management has significantly propelled advancements in this crucial field. The state formally recognizes this remarkable accomplishment and extends gratitude to Dr. Zalom for his exceptional contributions to the welfare of both California and the global community.”

Zalom is known for his “tireless advocacy for IPM as THE way to address pest concerns in a sustainable, economical and environmentally acceptable manner.” His peers describe his approach to IPM as “progressive, not dogmatic, integrating the economical and judicious use of crop protection products while promoting effective, biologically based pest management alternatives.”

“The overarching objective of my research program can best be described as the pursuit of knowledge that advances the science and use of integrated pest management,” Zalom said. Although he initially worked on rice, cotton and alfalfa, he turned his primary focus to California specialty crops including tree crops (almonds, olives, prunes, peaches), small fruits (grapes, strawberries, caneberries), and fruiting vegetables (example, tomatoes).

Zalom developed IPM strategies and tactics within the context of these systems that included monitoring procedures, thresholds, pest development and population models, biological controls, and use of less toxic pesticides, many of which are incorporated into UC IPM Guidelines for these crops (see and have become standard practice. He pursues his goals through a combination of fundamental studies linked to pest biology, physiology, and community ecology.

Overall, Zalom engages in what he calls "problem-focused, hypothesis-driven research that focuses on understanding the biology of the pest species that eventually results in economically viable IPM management approaches that reduce the amount of undesirable insecticides being used in crop production."

Zalom says he considers himself "a problem-solver who consults with fellow scientists, researchers, horticulturists, students, visiting scholars, extension educators, growers, pest control advisers, environmental groups, and public agencies--listening to their requests and concerns, before proposing and implementing the best IPM solutions to pest problems."

See more about our UC Davis doctoral alumnus extraordinaire and his IPM achievements.