Backyard Orchard News
Integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom (right), professor of entomology at UC Davis, is the 2010 recipient of the "Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management” from the Entomological Society of America (ESA), a 6000-member worldwide organization.
This is a highly esteemed award and well deserved. Zalom will receive the award at the ESA’s 58th annual meeting, set Dec. 12-15 in San Diego.
Colleague Jocelyn Millar, an entomology professor at UC Riverside who nominated Zalom for the award, described him as “one of the most influential scientists in the development and implementation of IPM policy and practices in the United States and the world, through his numerous and continuing contributions as a leader, director, and organizer.”
Millar applauded Zalom for “truly extraordinary record of achievement and service to IPM extending over several decades.”
In addition to his professorial duties, Zalom is an extension agronomist, and an entomologist in the Agricultural Experiment Station. He is a former vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
His current research focuses primarily on California specialty crops, including tree crops (almonds, olives, prunes, peaches), small fruits (grapes, strawberries, caneberries), and fruiting vegetables (tomatoes), as well as international IPM programs.
The IPM strategies and tactics Zalom has developed include monitoring procedures, thresholds, pest development and population models, biological controls and use of less toxic pesticides, which have become standard in practice and part of the UC IPM Guidelines for these crops.His lab has responded to six important pest invasions in the last decade, with research projects on glassy-winged sharpshooter, olive fruit fly, a new biotype of greenhouse whitefly, invasive saltcedar (at left), light brown apple moth, and the spotted wing Drosophila.
Zalom has been heavily involved in research and leadership in IPM activities at the state, national and international levels. He is experiment station co-chair of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) National IPM Committee and directed the UC IPM Statewide IPM Program for 16 years.
A fellow of ESA and the California Academy of Sciences, Zalom has received numerous other honors for his work. Earlier this year, the Pacific Branch of ESA presented him with its “Excellence in IPM Award.” In 2008, Zalom was part of a team receiving an International IPM Excellence Award at the sixth International IPM Symposium, held in Portland, Ore. Also in 2008, he was part of the seven-member University of California Almond Pest Management Alliance IPM Team that received the Entomological Foundation’s "Award for Excellence in IPM" at the ESA's meeting in Reno.
In nearly three decades with the UC Davis Department of Entomology, Zalom has published almost 300 refereed papers and book chapters, and 340 technical and extension articles. These articles span a wide range of topics related to IPM, including introduction and management of newer, soft insecticides, development of economic thresholds and sampling methods, management of invasive species, biological control, insect population dynamics, and determination of host feeding and oviposition preferences of pests.
During his 16-year tenure as director of the statewide UC IPM Program, Zalom supported transitioning the program from a paper-based source of publications and information to one that has universally accessible Web-based information.
“The position and influence of the UC IPM and its publications and resources that are used by growers, IPM professionals, regulatory personnel, and homeowners worldwide, cannot be underestimated,” Millar said, “and this is in large part due to Dr. Zalom’s excellent stewardship of the program through rapidly changing times.”
While director of the program, Zalom also obtained the USDA grant that provided the first funding base for the new UC Exotic Pests and Diseases Research Program, and another multimillion dollar USDA grant (with Rick Melnicoe and Michael Stimmann) to fund the Western Pest Management Center.
In the Almonds
The eyespots--they're almost hypnotic.
And that's what makes the buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia) so easily recognizable--the bold pattern of eyespots on the wings, bold enough to startle and scare away prey.
This buckeye (below) fluttered along the grounds of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis, and finally dropped to the bare soil.
It appeared almost camouflaged...except for those magnificent eyespots.
The purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a favorite among the autumn plants blooming in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, the half-acre bee friendly garden planted last fall next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.
The purple coneflower, which looks like a conehead surrounded by drooping petals, is endemic to eastern and central North America.
It's a common sight to see dark and light-colored honey bees foraging on the coneflowers. The darker bees, New World Carniolans (the line belonging to bee breeder Susan Cobey and located at the Laidlaw bee yard) and the Italians (the most common bee in the United States) share many a coneflower.
Yes, they all get along.
The haven, open year around at no charge, is located on Bee Biology Road west of the central campus. It was designed as a year-around food source for the Laidlaw bees and other pollinators; to raise public awareness of the plight of the bees; to provide information on what folks can plant in their own gardens to attract bees; and as a research garden.
What to plant for autumn foraging? Consider the coneflower!
It was not a good day to "stop and smell the roses."
A vespid wasp apparently lingered too long on a rose--perhaps dropping by for a sip of nectar or seeking unsuspecting prey.
What it found was another predator, a praying mantis looking for breakfast.
The scenario unfolded last week in the Storer Garden at the University of California, Davis.
The mantid grasped the wasp in its spiked forelegs and methodically began to consume it.
It bit into the head first, thorax next, and then snatched a wing.
All that was left: a wing and a prayer.
On a Wing and a Prayer
Noted bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey not only has the best of both worlds, but the best of both springs.
Cobey, affiliated with the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis, since 2007 and as a bee research collaborator at Washington State University since 2007, now has a dual appointment: UC Davis and WSU.
She is dividing her time 50-50 between the two universities.
Honey bee research is the winner.
Cobey will continue her work on enhancing domestic honey bee breeding stock and improving colony health. Her WSU appointment is based in western Washington at the Mt. Vernon Research Station.
“The overall goal is to improve colony health to supply the critical and demanding need for pollination of the nation’s agricultural crops,” she said.
“A major focus of my dual appointment is to expand the collaborative effort to enhance our domestic honey bee breeding stocks through the incorporation of germplasm collected from bees around the world,” Cobey said. “Genetic diversity is critical to maintain healthy honey bee populations.”
European colonists brought the honey bee (Apis mellifera) to what is now the United States in the 1600s. “Importation was banned in 1922 to avoid the tracheal mite,” Cobey related. “To avoid the introduction of tracheal mites, a small founder bee population was established before the importation ban in 1922. This small subset of a few subspecies from limited importations represents a genetic bottleneck. This is an increasing concern with the continuing high losses of colonies due to parasitic mites, the plague of new pathogens and the phenomena of colony collapse disorder.”
Cobey collaborates with apiculturist Steve Sheppard, professor and chair of the WSU Department of Entomology, in an ongoing honey bee stock improvement project between the two universities.
WSU holds the APHIS-USDA (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) quarantine in an ecological reserve isolated by a sea of wheat. “This is where we are introducing, observing and testing the colonies resulting from the semen importations,” Cobey said. “We have brought in Apis mellifera carnica stock from Germany, Apis mellifera ligustica from Italy, and most recently Apis mellifera caucasica from the Republic of Georgia.” Carniolans and Caucasians are dark races of bees. The Italian bee (Apis mellifera liguistica) is the most prevalent bee in the United States.
This effort also includes research into developing protocols for the safe importation of germplasm and the development of cryopreservation techniques for long term storage.
The dual appointment basically means two springs. "I can enjoy the early spring season in California and then head north to follow the season in Washington state," she said. "Queen rearing in California usually can be started in late February. By June, the summer heat and dearth make this more difficult, especially in maintaining a large pool of drones for mating. Spring in Washington kicks in by May, so this is prime queen-rearing season in the Pacific Northwest.”
Working in both California and the Pacific Northwest will allow the evaluation and selection of stocks in different climates. “This will also provide reservoirs of stock in different places to spread the risk of losing valuable lines.”
Her husband, Tim Lawrence, formerly of UC Davis, is the newly named director of WSU’s Island County Extension. The couple lives in Island County.