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Improved management of Lygus bugs has reduced unnecessary insecticide applications reducing risk to crops and the environment

The Issue

The Tulare Lake Bottom is an area in Kings County, California that produces a variety of row, field and vegetable crops. Crop rotations of safflower, cotton and tomato are essential in maintaining soil quality and managing ground water issues. In the westside of Fresno and Kings Counties, major changes to cropping landscape took place in a single year. The shift to safflower overwhelmed the landscape and resulted in a breakdown of expected patterns of insect migration. In order to improve Integrated Pest Management (IPM), the management of key pests such as Lygus bugs must be considered at a larger and wider level then individual fields and farms.

What Has ANR Done?

A UCCE advisor designed several projects to evaluate the source and sink relationships of crops surrounding susceptible fields to Lygus pest management. UCCE facilitated local participatory meetings to help inform growers and Pest Control Advisors (PCAs) of the situation. Educational outreach provided principles to situate crops in patterns which reduce the threat of Lygus movement between crops within this mixed cropping landscape as well as manage pests within crop sources to prevent movement into susceptible crops.

The Payoff

Growers are now using best managment practices

By applying the knowledge gained from these participatory group meetings, local research and individual consultations, this community developed and adopted good management practices to mitigate Lygus bug movement, e.g. by focusing on the neighboring sources of the pest reduced the need for treating the primary focus crop because the pest never migrated. Twenty growers and PCAs now employ best management IPM practices to control Lygus bugs, within the constraints of crop rotations for soil health and ground water protection. The understanding of landscape level management has substantially improved the situation in managing Lygus bugs, reducing unnecessary insecticide applications and reduced risk to the cotton crop and environment.


Supporting Unit: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Statewide Program

Peter Goodell, IPM Advisor, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, pbgoodell@ucanr.edu, 559-646-6515