College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

Insecticide Spraying Of Trees Shuts Down Crystal Lake Recreation Area

If you had plans to visit the Crystal Lake recreation area in the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest this week, you should change them. Officials closed the area Tuesday to spray insecticide on pine trees to protect them from a tree-colonizing beetle. The closure is set to end Sunday. Link to original article...

Wild desert plants face viral surprise

Study reveals a previously unknown threat: non-native crop viruses are infecting and jeopardizing the health of wild desert plants.

Buzzworthy: new podcast sorts insect facts from fiction

Friends, Romans, arthropods, lend us your ears! For those curious about insects – their behavior, love lives, the threat or lack thereof they pose to humans – there is a new podcast: Can I Bug You? Recorded on the UC Riverside campus at the KUCR FM radio studio, the podcast is a twice-monthly deep dive...

Threat Of Fruit Flies Returns To California

Four decades ago, California went to war against an enemy that wasn’t human. The adversary was the Mediterranean fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened to destroy California’s agricultural economy. To fight the fly, the state launched controversial aerial pesticide spraying campaigns and set up roadblocks and quarantine zones. Fast forward to today and the...
By KQED News Staff |

Western U.S. Has More Subterranean Termite Species Than Previously Thought, Study Shows

Subterranean termites in the genus Reticulitermes are common pests in North America, responsible for significant damage to wooden structures. The scientific literature maintains that the western United States is home to two native species of termites: Reticulitermes hesperus in more coastal regions from British Columbia to Southern California, and Reticulitermes tibialis in more arid inland...

California tree nuts under attack by new beetle

If ever there were not enough reasons for tree nut farmers to be diligent about winter sanitation, they now have one more with the discovery of a new invasive beetle that overwinters in mummy nuts. This new beetle – Carpophilus truncatus (Nitidulidae) – is a known pest of almonds in Australia, where they have been...
By Todd Fitchette |

Your guide to not letting the bed bugs bite

France’s top export this year isn’t creamy camembert or moody arthouse cinema. No, people will remember France in 2023 for exporting the only home invader so reviled that many would rather see their belongings go up in flames than deal with them: bed bugs. Right now, French families are tossing their beds onto the streets...
By Jamie Davies |

It’s not just Paris. There’s a “global resurgence” of bedbugs.

On a brisk morning last month, the deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Grégoire, stood in front of a French TV camera with a serious look on his face and said: “No one is safe.” He wasn’t talking about the threat of climate change or some frightening new virus. He was talking about bedbugs. For the...
By Benji Jones |

Palm weevil infestation hits tree on La Jolla Rec Center grounds

A palm tree on the La Jolla Recreation Center grounds is slated for removal after the city of San Diego confirmed it has been infested with the South American palm weevil. The palm weevil — a type of beetle native to parts of Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean — has killed many...

Researchers study the global decline of insect populations

Across the globe, insect populations have seen a steep decline. According to a meta-analysis of 16 studies, insect populations have declined by about 45% in just the last 40 years. The large-scale death of insects poses huge threats not only to the ecosystems they exist in but also to much of our agriculture. According to...

New Study Improves Sterile Insect Technique for Mosquitoes

As Florida health authorities work to respond to an ever-growing cadre of invasive tropical mosquitoes, a research team has sharpened an environmentally friendly tool increasingly deployed against a dangerous species that invaded the state two centuries ago. The mosquito is Aedes aegypti, vector of yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika fever. It is one...

Entomology Teaching Garden opens on campus

Entomology students at UC Riverside now have a very short commute to a fieldwork site. The Entomology Teaching Garden focusing on attracting native insects and pollinators has opened next to the Entomology Research Museum on the bee-friendly campus, serving as an outdoor classroom and living laboratory for faculty and students. Approximately 1,200 square feet in...

Sheep and cattle-killing disease carriers never take a break

Bluetongue virus, an incurable cattle and sheep-killing disease, is spread by tiny flies once thought to disappear in winter. New research demonstrates that though they are harder to find when it’s cold, they remain active. Bluetongue virus is common in cattle throughout most of the United States, particularly in the southwestern U.S. with nearly 20%...

How One Entomologist Learned to Appreciate the Little Things (Microbes) in Life

During his Ph.D. work at the University of California, Riverside, Jake Cecala, Ph.D., conducted a project looking at the effects of irrigation and pesticide use in ornamental plants on solitary bee reproduction.

When it comes to bumblebees, does size matter?

Certain crops, like greenhouse tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and blueberries, rely on bumblebees for a style of pollination that only bumblebees can perform. Among growers, the preference can be for bigger-bodied bumblebees because they’re thought to be more efficient pollinators. Enabled by a $750,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the research team...
By Jules Bernstein |

Biting Midges’ Overwintering Activity Offers Clues to Persistence of Bluetongue Virus

The Culicoides biting midge, a tiny fly in the order Diptera, transmits several important animal viruses. One of the most significant is the bluetongue virus (BTV), which causes bluetongue disease in cattle, sheep, deer and other ruminants. A new study gets closer to answering how biting midges such as Culicoides sonorensis (shown here) maintain transmission...

UCR named a “Bee Campus” for efforts to protect pollinators

UC Riverside has been designated as a bee-friendly campus and become an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, joining other institutions in improving the landscape for pollinators. An initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Bee Campus USA and the associated Bee City USA program provide a framework for communities to work together...

Dr. Federici explains the science behind the iridescent virus that turns pill bugs blue.

Why do the pill bugs turn bright blue? Brian Federici, Professor of Entomology at the University of California Riverside said the unusual color is likely caused by a lethal iridescent virus that cannot affect humans.

Making Progress on Pheromone Lure for Leaffooted Bugs

Researchers have been looking into the development of an effective pheromone lure for leaffooted bugs. The effort has been part of a research project funded by the Almond Board of California. Cooperative Extension Specialist based out of the Kearney Agricultural Research and Education Center, Kent Daane said there have been some breakthroughs. A pheromone compound...
By Brian German Ag News Director, AgNet West |

Finding Pheromones: How One Entomologist Puts Discoveries to Work in Pest Management

Jacqueline Serrano, Ph.D., is a research entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in the Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research Unit, in Wapato, Washington. She earned her B.S. in biology (2012) and Ph.D. in entomology (2019) at the University of California, Riverside. She first joined USDA-ARS as a postdoctoral research...
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