University of California

You See CE: UCCE San Diego's Blog

Looking for certified organic growers to participate in a multistate soil and food-safety study

University of California ANR (Cooperative Extension) scientists are looking for certified organic growers to participate in a multistate soil and food-safety study.  The data they gather will help them develop national guidelines and best practices for using raw manure to improve soil health.

“The goal of our study is to provide organic farmers with science-based strategies that effectively limit food-safety risks when using raw manure-based soil amendments,” said Alda Pires, UC Cooperative Extension urban agriculture and food safety specialist in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis.

The study will run two years. In return for participating, growers will receive free test results for their farm, farm-specific feedback to help minimize contamination of fresh produce and $700 at the end of the study.

Researchers will visit participating farms eight times over the 2017-18 growing season. They will collect produce, soil and water samples.

“All of the samples will be tested for bacterial indicators such as nonpathogenic E. coli and pathogens. We will ask the farmers to complete a short survey,” said Michele Jay-Russell, a veterinary research microbiologist and manager at the Western Center for Food Safety at UC Davis. “The study is voluntary and all locations and names will be kept confidential.”

For more information or to enroll in the project, contact Pires at (530) 754-9855 or, or Jay-Russell at (530) 219-4628 or

Posted on Monday, December 19, 2016 at 4:29 PM

Pesticide Safety Train the Trainer Coming back to Southern California en EspaƱol

Hold the date for February 7, 2017 for Pesticide Safety Training the Trainer workshop. It's going to be at the San Diego Farm Bureau's  office. This one is in Spanish. More info to follow but here is what was posted for the trainings done in the fall.

Classes will be 8:00 am-5:00 pm ; Continental Breakfast and Check-in start at 7:45 am. 
  Clase de las 8:00 am a 5:00 pm; Registración y desayuno a las 7:45 am

(Español abajo)

Participants who complete this training will become qualified to provide pesticide safety training to fieldworkers and pesticide handlers as required by California state regulations. This training is approved and co-sponsored by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR). 


$150 per person  

 (English above)

 Los participantes en este programa serán calificados para entrenar a los trabajadores de campo y a los aplicadores de pesticidas, como es requerido por las regulaciones del estado de California. El departamento de regulaciones de pesticidas de California (CDPR) aprobó este entrenamiento.


$150 por persona


Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 11:33 AM

Be Prepared for Changes to the Worker Protection Standard

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently published the revised Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS).  The WPS is meant to increase protections for agricultural fieldworkers and pesticide handlers from pesticide exposure when working in farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses. The changes will definitely affect California agriculture, and soon-- as early as January 2017 in some cases.

What major regulatory changes are in store for us and when will they happen?

Several changes are required to be in place by January 2, 2017. These include:

  • All 417,000 fieldworkers in California must attend annual pesticide safety training.
  • Records of all fieldworker pesticide safety trainings must be kept on file for 2 years.
  • Fields must be posted when the restricted entry interval (REI) exceeds 48 hours.
  • Instructors previously certified via Train-the-Trainer to lead pesticide safety trainings must now attend an EPA-approved Train-the-Trainer course to maintain that certification.

The regulatory changes that are required to be in place by January 2, 2018 include:

  • Additional training topics for fieldworkers and handlers must be added to the curriculum.
  • “Application-exclusion zones” must be implemented to prevent the entry of anyone into areas up to 100 feet from pesticide application equipment. Application-exclusion zone regulations also require handlers to suspend an application if anyone enters the restricted area.

Who do these changes affect?

Many people who work in the California agricultural community will be impacted by the WPS revisions including fieldworkers, pesticide handlers, farm labor contractors, private and in-house safety trainers, growers, farm managers, licensed pesticide applicators (private and commercial), pest control advisors (PCAs), and crop consultants to name a few.

The new changes bring about a shared liability with all those involved in employing or training fieldworkers and handlers.

How can I get qualified as a trainer?

To become a trainer, take an EPA- and DPR- approved Instructor Training (a.k.a. “Train-the-Trainer”) workshop.  The University of California Pesticide Safety Education Program (part of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, UC IPM), in partnership with AgSafe, will offer multiple workshops this fall that cover the new federal requirements for fieldworker and handler training.  Visit the Events and workshops page on the UC IPM website to reserve your spot.  At the end of the training you will be a certified pesticide safety instructor. 

Remember, even if you've already participated in a Train-the-Trainer workshop, you are required by EPA to retake the program unless you maintain certain licenses/government designations, including PAC, QAC, QAL, PCA, and certain County Biologist licenses.  UCCE Advisors are also exempted from the need to retrain.

If I am currently qualified, how can I make sure I stay up to date on all these new requirements?

If you are currently qualified as a trainer because you maintain a California PAC, QAC, or QAL, or if you are a PCA, you can attend a Train-the-Trainer workshop this fall to learn about the new WPS requirements and additional training topics.  While a certification may qualify you, a Train-the-Trainer Workshop will prepare you to train! Register today.


Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 7:58 PM

Bee precaution ratings from UC IPM now available

Protect bees from pesticides by using bee precaution ratings from UC IPM

—UC Statewide IPM Program

Various insects, birds, and other animals pollinate plants. Bees, especially honey bees, are the most vital for pollinating food crops.  Many California crops rely on bees to pollinate their flowers and ensure a good yield of seeds, fruit, and nuts.  Pesticides, especially insecticides, can harm bees if they are applied or allowed to drift to plants that are flowering.

Our mission at the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources (UC ANR), Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) is to protect the environment by reducing risks caused by pest management practices.  UC IPM developed Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings to help pest managers make an informed decision about how to protect bees when choosing or applying pesticides.  You can find and compare ratings for pesticide active ingredients including acaricides (miticides), bactericides, fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides, and select the one posing the least harm to bees.

Ratings fall into three categories.  Red, or rated I, pesticides should not be applied or allowed to drift to plants that are flowering.  Plants include the crop AND nearby weeds.  Yellow, or rated II, pesticides should not be applied or allowed to drift to plants that are flowering, except when the application is made between sunset and midnight if allowed by the pesticide label and regulations.  Finally, green, or rated III, pesticides have no bee precautions, except when required by the pesticide label or regulations.  Pesticide users must follow the product directions for handling and use and take at least the minimum precautions required by the pesticide label and regulations.

A group of bee experts in California, Oregon, and Washington worked with UC IPM to develop the Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings.  They reviewed studies published in scientific journals and summary reports from European and United States pesticide regulatory agencies.  While the protection statements on the pesticide labels were taken into account when determining the ratings, it is important to stress that UC IPM's ratings are not the pollinator protection statements on the pesticide labels.  In a number of cases, the ratings suggest a more protective action than the pesticide label.

The UC IPM ratings also include active ingredients that may not be registered in your state; please follow local regulations.  In California, the suggested use of the bee precaution pesticide ratings is in conjunction with UC Pest Management Guidelines (for commercial agriculture) and Pest Notes (for gardeners).  Each crop in the UC Pest Management Guidelines has a link to the Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings database and provides guidance on how to reduce bee poisoning from pesticides.

For more information on protecting bees from pesticides, see UC IPM's Protecting Natural Enemies and Pollinators, and use the Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings



According to a UCBerkeley news report,about one-third of the value of California agriculture comes from pollinator-dependent crops, representing net value of $11.7 billion per year.

Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 10:08 AM
Tags: bees (2), Pesticides (5), pollinators (2)

Have you seen this new ficus pest?

A psyllid, perhaps new to the Western Hemisphere and that causes a distinctive, tight, typically complete leaf rolling , has been found on Ficus microcarpa (Chinese banyan, Indian laurel fig) in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Diego,and Riverside counties.  

So far we have observed the FLRP only on Ficus microcarpa. Damage is fairly obvious and unusually conspicuous on heavily infested trees. Leaves at the branch and twig tips are tightly and typically completely rolled into a narrow cylinder. One rolled margin eventually overtakes the other, actually forming a cylinder with two tubes. In some instances only one margin rolls, in which case the rolling stops at the leaf blade midrib. The rolled leaf is brittle and remains green throughout 

The rolled leaves could be mistaken initially for damage from Gynaikothrips ficorum (the Cuban laurel thrips). However, careful observation will quickly show the distinct difference between the rolled leaf (cause by the FLRP) and folded leaf (caused by Cuban laurel thrips). Indeed, the FLRPs shape the leaf to look more like the Mexican food taquito (tightly rolled tortilla) while the Cuban laurel thrips cause the leaf to look more like a taco (folded tortilla). 

Because the FLRP is likely a new arrival, we know nothing about its long-term impact on tree health. If damage is mostly restricted to few or several leaves, long-term health would likely not be significantly affected; in such cases it could be considered simply a nuisance esthetic issue. On the other hand, if most or every new leaf is infested and rolled, as it appears it is going to be on at least one of the trees we saw, esthetic damage would be significant and tree health would likely decline because of reduced photosynthesis.

The FLRP appears to be nearly exclusively attracted to the newest developing leaves, which are softer, more pliable, and easier to roll, rather than simply the leaves' position on the canopy periphery where they would be first encountered. If further study shows this observation to be true, it will impact how this pest can be managed culturally and mechanically.

To see the entire article with photos and more details go to

If you see this kind of damage, please let one of the authors know as we are trying to describe its current range in California.



Posted on Monday, June 13, 2016 at 11:11 AM
Tags: ficus (1), landscape pest (1), leaf roller (1), psyllid (1)

First storyPrevious 5 stories  |  Next 5 stories | Last story

Webmaster Email: