Our Friend, the Bat

Oct 24, 2017
Elaine Miller Bond

All the flying mammals in the world are bats: the pollinators, the blood-sippers, and the insect-eaters. In Northern California, most bats spend their nights hunting down the kinds of insects people regard as pests. These include moths, which, in larva form, can devastate an entire field of corn or soybeans. Reporter Sarah Reith caught up with a farm adviser and an animal rescue worker to learn more about these voracious nighttime creatures.

There’s More Than Meets the Eye to Dragonflies

Dec 23, 2016

Dragonflies aren’t just old—they date back to the age of the dinosaurs—they’re strange.  Also colorful, pest-eating, non-threatening to humans, and still surprisingly unstudied.

Among all the strange and unusual things that have been learned about Dragonflies, there is one that stands out above everything else, says Kathy Biggs:  their mating practices.

The Dangerous World of Butterflies

Jul 5, 2015

  Nature lovers versus breeders. Preservationists versus poachers and smugglers.  A history that goes back eons versus threatened extinctions in the 21st  century. These are just some of the stories that lie within the dangerous world of....butterflies?

The video below compresses the life cycle of the Painted Lady butterfly into less than three minutes of striking time-lapse photography.

Insect Pests Thriving Thanks to Climate Change

Aug 21, 2014
Deborah C. Smith

  The effects of gradual climate change can be both large and small. But, as Lori Abbott reports, some of the small ones are getting more numerous.

Farmer's Little Helper: Beneficial Insects

May 22, 2014
courtesy Quarter Acre Farm.

Spring is bug season. Andrea Davis-Cetina sees plenty as she walks through Quarter Acre Farm. She's especially happy to see green lacewings this year, beneficial insects that prey heavily on pests like aphids, leafhoppers and mealybugs. 

Researchers like Riccardo Bommarco, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, work to help farmers such as Davis-Cetina find the best was to re-introduce insect habitat onto their farms. 

Lessons of the Medfly

Dec 12, 2013
UC Davis

The Mediterranean fruit fly is a serious threat to California agriculture. But widespread yearly pesticide spraying has not been effective in eradicating the pest, and state officials seem unwilling to acknowledge that.  Bruce Robinson reports.

UC Davis Entomology Professor Carey says he used the state’s own data on medfly appearances to conclude that eradication efforts have failed.

  But he also understands why CDFA is reluctant to publicly acknowledge that failure.

New Vineyard Pest Approaching from the North

Aug 18, 2013

Conventional pesticides are highly effective in combating a new vineyard pest that has already worked its way south as far as Hopland. But for organic growers, it can pose a much bigger problem.