From East Bay Pesticide Alert's Max Ventura
510-895-2312 2399, E. 14th St. #24, San Leandro, CA 94577


I spoke with Ag. Commissioner Jerry Prieto 559-456-7510 fax: 559-456-7379 1730 S. Maple Ave. Fresno 93702
Asst. Ag. Comm. is Bob Vandergon

M: When did you discover GWSS in Fresno?

J: We started finding GWSS Memorial Day weekend. It was in several locations in Fresno and Clovis in June. We started spraying in July in residential areas and treated 5 separate areas. In Kingsburg along the Hwy 99 corridor we didn't spray around any residences. It's business and residential, near the city of Fowler, and we found GWSS near a packing house. Citrus around it was sprayed.
-In November we sprayed ¼ of the Golden State Hwy median… the trees.
-We used sevin and had a public meeting before each spraying. We noticed people with flyers left door-to-door and sprayed only properties where we found GWSS and their neighbors' properties; otherwise did not treat. We treated 918 properties in the county.
-Some properties, the majority, received 3 separate sprayings; several received 4 sprayings. In Kingsburg only the one property was sprayed. It's not an eradication program; it's a control program.

M: Did people express concern to you/your department about the spraying of pesticides around their homes?

J: I don't think so. Any negative response was because we had sprayed so many times it was becoming annoying to people to have to be bringing their dogs in and just to have people around so many times.

M: What was your response to anyone not wanting spraying around her/his home?

J: On areas where people did not want spraying if the GWSS was not actually on their properties not treating one or two properties wasn't a problem. Some areas were so dense with plant materials or trees were too tall to succeed in spraying everything anyway. But I had gone forward and prepared. I had gone to court to get abatement orders in case though because if there were GWSS on a property and people didn't want it sprayed we would need the abatement order to go in and spray.
-Didn't think Carbaryl effective (only 75% effective) and couldn't treat all plant materials and leaving a lot behind and concern about beneficials. It's a contact pesticide. Switched to Imidacloprid.
-A parasite was seen to be moving with the GWSS native to the area or just moving with the GWSS. But it doesn't become effective until late season.
-Other issue with Carbaryl is that we were having to make repeated sprayings. People started complaining by the 3rd round not about the spraying but about putting dogs away.
-Last summer a 160 acre vineyard… 4 GWSS found. Grower treated himself.
-With Imidacloprid went back 3rd week in November and found no GWSS. Would look all day and would find maybe 1 insect. Called Kern County to see about GWSS there and still high levels so I decided Imidacloprid was working. We used it on its most favorite host plants.

Jay asked me what I know about Neem oil. I told him that I have heard somethings which I will have to dig up re using as an insecticide but it is used medicinally on humans as an anti-bacterial. Told him I'd try to find what I had seen and get it to him. (Anyone reading this with info on it re: Ag. use please send him and a copy to me: 2399 East 14th St. #24 San Leandro, CA 94577. Thanks.)
He said a farmer, Alfred Pong, or Pong's orchard in Maryland had emailed him saying he's used Neem successfully for pear psyllid (similar to aphid-I told him I've used soaps and horticultural oil successfully when scales, of aphid family, took over a tree reacting to drought conditions). Al's convinced this could work with the GWSS but hasn't been able to get anyone with the state to listen.
-Al Pong… Pong's Orchard 16811 New Hampshire Ave., S.S., Maryland 20905

J: I would like to find some other materials. I can see I should have some other options to use. Someone from Florida sent 4 gallons of something which sounds great. It stinks so I don't know whether it works as a repellant. They claim it is perfectly safe for humans. I gave it to the State for testing. The drawback is that it is not registered with the State so only can be used experimentally. I couldn't get UC or USDA to do it. CDFA said they'll do it.
-He said he'd suggest trying Neem oil at General Beale Rd. Pilot Project, the 13,000 acres in Kern County.

J: The state lost the parasite. Didn't have a consistent supply of eggs. Originally he said "forgot to get sufficient eggs"…. Does this suggest he understands that either this was intentional or was the result of utter incompetence? Was this an intentional action so as to undermine alternatives? He didn't come back in to revise statement; I asked him, "You mean CDFA simply forgot to order eggs?" He replied that they didn't have a consistent supplier but now have a consistent supply coming from Florida. Said it should be in Mexico this week. They will be brought to facilities in Kern and Riverside, insectories. He said they're trying to get it going without funding. "I think it's a really important biological measure. The State says as little as 1% GWSS population can cause problems. Parasite might be able to eradicate.

J: Nobody seems to want to remember Homopteras, the "Citrus Whitefly" years ago. We eradicated that using oil sprays. It was in small pockets like the GWSS. It took 3 years spraying in winter and it was eradicated. It just took some patience. He thinks it may be able to be done with the GWSS.

J: I think there is a place for pesticides. Through DPR program we're doing a focus thing with schools to develop IPM programs. I told him about how we deal with ants at home and that I use 1 oz. of peppermint soap and 15 oz. of water in a spray bottle and spray sometimes just the ants' target area first. Once ants have retreated we spray their entrance area and path but that it kills on contact too… I told him it takes a couple sprayings and 2 - 3 days and my kids love keeping track of the progress. They think it's funny to see the ants smell the peppermint and go scurrying back. He said, "My wife and I just mop ants up with a towel at home. Or people can use Carbolic Acid. But if there are Redfire Ants or Black Widows at a school I'd use pesticides."

J: IPM is what a lot of farmers do here. One of the biggest problems is that citrus growers don't want to use pesticide because of IPM.

M: What about using bug vacuums like what I was told by the Kern Cty. Ag. Comm. Steve Pavitch did successfully last year for the GWSS and he plans to do again this year?

J: No, it wouldn't be practical. Where you have groves set up linear… but to try to do it in a yard setting with one hose would be too time consuming. In order to vacuum you'd have to see the insect. Ag. machines cover a whole area vs. a hose in a yard.

(Max's note: consider this…. The CDFA GWSS program has devoted millions upon millions upon millions to have Ag. Dept. biologists trying to turn over every leaf of every shipment of nursery stock coming in to one county in the state from another, infested, county. This is to "certify" shipments as GWSS-free, an impossibility to control anyway, since the well-made point about GWSS is that it flies…and fast….. could turn over a leaf and find no egg masses and see no GWSS and one from another plant in the truck could hop on over, or fly over, to that very plant once the Ag. person has turned to another plant. And surveying traps is happening in every area already sprayed last year so the massive money flow continues into tedious tasks which are questionable at best in terms of avoiding movement of the insect around the state. And the massive amount spent on the pesticide spraying program is obscene. Using a bug vacuum might be tedious but in the end less tedious, less costly financially, and of primary importance, this is NON-TOXIC!)