PROBLEM: Persea mite and avocado thrips have become widespread in Ventura county. Studies by UC Cooperative Extension indicate that no registered pesticide controls the new pests.
SIGNIFICANCE: Avocado is among the most frequently planted trees among homeowners in our area. Many backyard avocado growers, ignorant of UCCE findings and of biological control, are watching their trees defoliate and attempting, in vain, to combat these pests with toxic materials.
STRATEGY: Conduct a biological control presentation for the general public explaining biological control in avocados and printed educational materials.
OUTCOME: The seminar, funded by UC SAREP, was conducted on August 23, 1997. Of the 120 participants, many brought leaves that we looked at under a microscope with a video screen. The varied mite and insect activity on the leaves led to discussion about what each person has done to care for his or her trees. We related efforts to increase mulching and floral diversity around their trees with evidence of biological control of pests.