The pleasant climate and the diversity of crops and landscape plants that appeal to residents of San Luis Obispo County also appeal to invasive and destructive insect pests and plant diseases. In 2015 over 6,000 San Luis Obispo County residents volunteered to assist in the search for exotic, destructive insects by participating in the County Department of Agricultural/Weights and Measures’ Pest Detection Trapping Program. Over 2,800 traps were placed and moved in and out of yards throughout the county.
“As the 2016 insect trapping season gets underway, we are looking for residents throughout the county that want to volunteer their fruit trees or landscape plants as monitoring locations”, said Martin Settevendemie, County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer.
Traps for exotic insects such as Mediterranean, Oriental, Mexican and Melon Fruit Flies, Asian Citrus Psyllid, Gypsy Moth, Japanese Beetle, Glassy-winged sharpshooter and Light Brown Apple Moth were checked 55,000 times in 2015 by Pest Detection Trappers from the Agricultural Commissioner’s office. This partnership with residents allows the department to implement a comprehensive and successful pest detection program.
The most common type of insect trap used is a triangular shaped, open ended cardboard box with a sticky surface that holds an insect attractant specific to a particular pest. Larger, bright yellow sticky sheets of cardboard are used for general pest detection. The traps are placed out of reach of children and pets.
“Early detection efforts such as the ongoing trapping program protect local agriculture and common home grown fruits and vegetables by intercepting pests at very low populations, increasing the likelihood of successfully eradicating invasive pests. Community participation strengthens the detection program, supports local agricultural producers and helps protect the environment”, continued Settevendemie. The county operates the trapping program in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Anyone interested in hosting insect traps is asked to contact the County Agricultural Commissioner’s office at 805.781.5910. For more information visit the County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures’ website at www.slocounty.ca.gov/agcomm.