From East Bay Pesticide Alert’s Max Ventura

Dept of Agriculture
1553 Berger Dr. Bldg. 1
San Jose, CA 95112
Ph: (408) 299-2171
Fx: (408) 286-2640
South County Office ph: (408) 779-0682

Ag. Commissioner is Greg Van Wassenhove

7/11/01 I spoke with Dep. Ag. Commissioner Kevin O’Day:

I asked about when GWSS found in San Jose and he said first one was found 6/27/01 and the second was found 6/29/01. They were found in urban areas near one another. They are mixed residential and commercial areas (Monterey Rd. is one of the border streets).

He said the state does pest detection in urban areas while the county deals with rural.

He said the state confirmed it was GWSS a week ago. He said the protocol is that they draw a ¼ mile circle around each trap find (1/2 mile radius) and do a visual survey of everything within the circle. In this case, GWSS were found in 2 traps so visual surveying is being done within both of the circles and since areas are so close they will probably survey area between the circles. More traps have been set and are being surveyed frequently. He said he expects they will probably complete surveying within a week or so. If they find GWSS outside circles or by the edge of one of the circles a whole new circle will be drawn and surveying done within ½ mile radius of point where GWSS found.

So far, in Southern circle (a main intersection between the two areas, so called Northern and Southern circles at this point), one found, then 2 more in a Crepe Myrtle (sp?) tree, an egg mass in a tree, another on property behind and a fifth on property nextdoor. These constituted the 5 required to call a local infestation. In the Northern circle, the first find was one, the second trap had three, and they netted another with their sweep net. Et Voila! Another local infestation called.

I asked whether pesticide use is planned. I said, "Since there are so few, are you squishing them and saying, ‘OK.. they’re gone?’" He said they are looking at boundaries and if found all over like in some Southern California counties, they’ll say, "Oh, well … they’re here," and that will be that. But if they are not all over they will see what they need to do (read:pesticide use could be part of their response). He said that if GWSS are in just a few trees that perhaps they could just strip those trees.

I asked whether I could have a copy of the Santa Clara County workplan and he said that right now they have no contract with the state, that there was one for 16 months but that it just ended 6/30/01. He said that even if under contract as a B-rated pest his understanding is that action is still a local decision. He said they are paying attention to research being done in Kern County (via the General Beale Rd. Plan).

He said there are 1,800 acres of wine grapes in Santa Clara county ("None corporate; all family farming"). He said they are paying attention to nutrition and integrated strategies to make plants as strong as possible. He spoke about beneficial "hairy" weevils being used as bio-control in dealing with invasive Star Thistle and said they are trying to get people to understand that even with weevils, if weedy hay is being brought into the county, the weevils may not be able to deal with problem, that they are trying to get people to look at source problems rather than dealing only with symptoms. Their website, which he said has more details about bio-control efforts in their county is at

He is going to mail me a copy of the just-expired workplan.