New exotic insect pests in California and the importance of early detection for control

Tuesday, November 12, 2013: 10:24 AM
Meeting Room 17 A (Austin Convention Center)
Gevork Arakelian , Los Angeles County Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures, South Gate, CA
Increasing volume of international travel and trade, coupled with remarkable ability of many invertebrates to adapt to various environments, have created a high risk of pest dissemination. Early detection of non-native pest insects threatening our agricultural, natural, and urban areas is essential for timely and effective application of control or eradication measures.

The Los Angeles County Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures (ACWM) operates the Entomology Laboratory that offers  identification services for invertebrates found entering Los Angeles County through airfreight, ship, truck, and parcel delivery operations. In the past years several new to California, United States or Western Hemisphere insect pests were detected in Los Angeles County. To ensure rapid field identification and submission of insect specimens by agricultural inspectors, the laboratory staff has created a unique reference image database of exotic invertebrates and their damage. Some of these images were also incorporated into pest alert sheets and advisories used in the training of  Los Angeles County residents, growers, students and nursery and pest control company personnel.

On the basis of recent pest introduction examples, it was demonstrated how ACWM  staff contributed to various state and federal pest control and eradication projects through early detection, field monitoring, use of information technology, public outreach, and collaboration with various universities and government agencies.