Eric Middleton is UCCE San Diego's New Area IPM Advisor
Eric Middleton joined UC Cooperative Extension as an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Advisor at the beginning of June 2022. Although he is based in San Diego County, Eric is also responsible for IPM needs in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Eric will work with growers and communities wherever pests are an issue, including in nursery and floriculture production, citrus and avocado groves, and the many small farms found in San Diego county.
Eric has a background in entomology and integrated pest management. He earned his B.S in Biology from the University of Utah before attending the University of Minnesota for his PhD. At Minnesota, Eric studied wildflower plantings established in the unused margins of commercial potato fields, and the impact these had on pollinators, natural enemies, and biological control of the Colorado potato beetle. Eric then moved to Florida, where he did work as a postdoctoral researcher studying a new invasive mealybug pest of citrus. He researched effective sanitation methods to prevent the spread of the pest, determined which insect predators and parasitoids could help manage mealybug populations, and tested various adjuvants and pesticides for use in the field. He also worked on controlling invasive fire ants in citrus groves and evaluated how managing fire ants also impacted the management of mealybugs. Eric is excited to join UC Cooperative Extension and is looking forward to working in the diverse cropping systems that Southern California has to offer.
Eric is passionate about sustainable agriculture and investigating practical pest management solutions. His goals are to conduct research that is directly applicable to the needs of growers, to promote practices that have less of an impact on the environment, and to share his findings in a way that is accessible to everyone. Even when not at work, Eric is often thinking about insects and agriculture. He enjoys searching out native flora and fauna, hiking, and practicing permaculture techniques while gardening at home. He is always game to talk about bugs, or to climb the nearest mountain.