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Bagrada bug outreach

The Issue

Bagrada bug is an invasive pest in California that was first reported in 2008. It is now found in 22 counties in California and is spreading to other states including Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas. Bagrada bug prefers cultivated and uncultivated cruciferous hosts and is a threat to several cole crops. It can also cause significant damage to a wide variety of hosts that include carrots, corn, peppers, and potatoes. Providing timely information on the pest, its identification, damage symptoms, biology, host preference, and control options is very important when dealing with an invasive pest.

What Has ANR Done?

Surendra Dara, UCCE Advisor for strawberry and vegetable crops, conducted research with nonchemical control options, which are especially important for organic growers and home and community gardens. He created outreach material, including 10 eNewsletter articles that have been viewed over 24,000 times and an instructional YouTube video that has been viewed over 2,100 times. He has been consulted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Department of Pesticide Regulations, Agricultural Commissioners from different counties, clients from several counties in California, and people from other states about information on this pest. Dara collected qualitative feedback from his audience, which is summarized below.

The Payoff

Outreach material helps farmers manage Bagrada bug

Clients and readers indicated that they obtained useful information about the pest and potential management options. Some have indicated that by adopting the recommended practices from Dara’s research, they were able to effectively reduce the infestation of Bagrada bug and halt the damage to crops, which then allowed growers to continue producing at normal levels. Some growers were able to completely eliminate the Bagrada bug and others are able to manage their populations. Dara only received one comment that no changes occurred after application; however, that grower expects to see changes in the following season and noted that Dara was the only person able to provide a plan for dealing with Bagrada bug. Others commented that the outreach materials on identifying the pest and estimating damage to crops have been valuable.

Clientele Testimonial

“We plant cole crops in 7 acres each week and currently see 50% improvement in Bagrada bug control compared to last year, after following Surendra Dara’s treatment recommendations.” —Jason Gamble, Coastal Valley Farms and Babe Farms, Santa Maria, CA
“After approximately four applications over a 10-day period, there was no further evidence of bugs or damage. After some time, the kale crop recovered and is currently thriving. Many heartfelt thanks to UCCE and, in particular, Surendra Dara for their help.” —Steve, Northridge, CA


Supporting Unit: Santa Barbara County

Surendra Dara, Strawberry and Vegetable Crops Advisor and Affiliated IPM Advisor, (805) 781-5940, skdara@ucanr.edu