Pink Bollworm Program honored for reducing dependence on pesticides

From left: DPR Director Brian Leahy presented the award to four Pink Bollworm Program representatives (all retired), Jim Rudig and Pat Akers from CDFA, Bob Staten from USDA, and Bob Roberson from CDFA.

From left: DPR Director Brian Leahy presented the award to four Pink Bollworm Program representatives (all retired), Jim Rudig and Pat Akers from CDFA, Bob Staten from USDA, and Bob Roberson from CDFA.

California’s cooperative Pink Bollworm Program was one of six projects recognized by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) at an award ceremony last night (January 26) in Sacramento to honor efforts to manage pests while reducing the use of pesticides.

The awards recognize innovation, leadership, education and outreach by California-based organizations that carry out pest management.

The six projects use integrated pest management (IPM) to manage pests, combining preventive and natural strategies such as releasing parasitic insects and providing habitat for natural predators.

The Pink Bollworm Program involves introducing sterile pink bollworm moths to fields to disrupt the pests’ ability to reproduce and spread in California’s main cotton-growing regions.

Sterile moths are produced at the CDFA/USDA PBW Rearing Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. To determine where sterile moths need to be released, program personnel put out pheromone-baited insect traps. Sterile PBW moths are sent to California daily and released by aircraft over targeted areas determined by the trapping results.

The program has prevented pink bollworm moths from becoming established in California’s major cotton region without the use of conventional pesticides for more than 40 years. It is organized by the California Cotton Pest Control Board, California Department of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the National Cotton Council.

For more information about the DPR awards, see the press release online.

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