Posts Tagged 'biological control'

We Don’t Need GMO Corn

When tiny corn earworm caterpillars start hatching and munching and the farmer sprays with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), the little worms ingest some of the Bt bacterial spores. Bt reacts in their guts to make a toxin that eats holes in the gut walls, so they get sick and die, but the risk to animals and people is low. Bt in this form is a natural biological pesticide spray approved for organic crops. It washes off and degrades rapidly. Rincon-Vitova sells dry granular Bt for a backup control against caterpillar pests that get past the predators and parasites.

Corn Pests Can Be Managed Cost Effectively Using Biological Methods

Corn earworm and European cornborer are key pests of corn in different regions. Before big corporate agribusiness and bad farm policies put so many small to medium sized farmers out of business, they used crop rotations and early planting as part of integrated pest management. Much more can be done than has been with using adult suppression and habitat enhancement for predators to set the stage for good biological control. Coleomegila maculata and other predatory beetles and bugs can eat many egg masses before they even hatch. Likewise, green lacewing larvae and other predators contribute to biocontrol of caterpillars.

Patenting Seeds Creates Profit Motive Favoring Unnatural Methods

Big corporations are unlikely to ever own these farming tools. US patent law has not yet been perverted to allow the likes of Monsanto to mess with the genes of beneficial insects and mites, engineering little M’s on their dorsal thoraces. (Some entomologists have undoubtedly dabbled with the genes of predators and parasites, but it’s been easier to persuade farmers to pay the big bucks for GMO seed than GMO beneficials.) Monsanto that owns the seed and the Roundup herbicide figured it was losing potential Roundup profits, so it is now stacking the “Roundup gene” with the “Bt gene” onto the corn genome.

Now, whether they grow corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, or alfalfa hay, farmers can sign a technology use agreement (a contract) to buy a lot more Roundup from their seed company and make their weeds into superweeds (resistant to glyphosate) a lot faster. These are the trends leading to big monocultures of GM crops and superweeds replacing natural cultural and biocontrol strategies, with a loss of the knowledge and skills for biological farming.

Rincon-Vitova Promoting Biocontrol in Corn for Fifty Years

Trichogramma, a micro-wasp that lives on moth eggs, is the foundation of biological systems for growing corn and cotton. It is relatively inexpensive to produce in adequate numbers to prevent most of the moth eggs from becoming caterpillars. My father Everett J. “Deke” Dietrick began mass rearing this egg parasitoid in 1960. “Trichos” can give 70-95% control when used in a biological farming system. That means no repeated blanketing of the farm with Roundup that reduces soil ecology and fertility, and harms the diversity of biocontrol hosts and sources of pollen and nectar for resident natural enemies. Habrobracon hebetor is produced as a second line of defense against caterpillars in Central Asian cotton and the same could be done in corn here. See page 23 of Sacha Greenberg’s resume where he describes leading such a project.

The best way for farmers to have Trichogramma when they need it is to cooperate to support a regional insectary to grow Trichogramma, as well as something like the Bracon wasp or another larval parasitoid to be ready in case Trichogramma and naturally occuring predators don’t clean up the moth eggs and small worms fast enough. The insectary will grow enough so all supporting farms in the region to get the recommended amount, but it is released in the hotspots wherever the moths are laying eggs and the larval parasites where larvae are not coming under biological control. A third line of defense is Bt and other virus based insecticides can be developed or sourced as a last resort on problem areas, like Gemstar or isolates of polyhedrosis virus

Such natural methods have been proven safe and effective for decades. Our customers grow sweet corn with few or no worms and rarely or never even resort to Bt sprays. Bottom line: pests can be cost-effectively managed in corn without genetically engineering the corn plant to be a pesticide and tolerate repeated applications of Roundup to the whole field.

Benefits to Farmers from GE Crops Unsupported

Charles Benbrook’s recent analysis shows more use of herbicide in GM crops. So why are farmers opting for Bt/Roundup Ready corn instead of using safe and effective biological pest control? Why aren’t farmers organizing to have predators and parasitoids and biological materials? Why do many farmers only know about the Bt option promoted with billions of annual profits of Big Biotech? The Union of Concerned Scientists corrected a wrong impression about GM crops offering better yields. The potential for an increase in yield is only 5%.  There are reports of GM crops needing more water and being less drought resistant. This report requires a subscription to ISIS to see comparative photos. There is no yield advantage if that season’s corn borer pressure is so low that the farmer would not have treated for it anyway. Biotech funded research touts higher yields, but common sense says they may be more clever at manipulating study designs than genomes!

You will see negative reports and comments about the papers in the above paragraph. The biotech industry is threatened by this data that shows that biotech crops fail in providing any value to farmers. The biotech cheerleaders are all heaping derision on the studies and ad hominum attacks against the researchers. But these  independent research studies are peer-reviewed and the way science works, these data stand until another peer reviewed study is published that challenges the data questioning the economic viability of GMOs for farmers. All of the people dissing these studies are not peers and their comments in no way negate the facts – GMO crops have failed, are failing, and offer no improvement/benefits for the future. GMO Myths and Truths:  An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops done by top world experts explains the findings of all relevant peer reviewed studies in 123 pages.

Meanwhile On the Farm

Still farmers are gambling on a mixed hand dealt by Casino Monsanto. “Next year might be a bad worm year. I figure even though Bt seed costs a lot more, it might pay off. What if I’m the only field with nonGMO and the moths know it! Besides, the guy said he’d give me some discount on Roundup if I sign up. Hey, they have a stacked version so I don’t have to weed the field. I’ll spend less on the Roundup than I MIGHT have to spend if there turns out to be cornborer pressure this year.”

Everyone else the farmer talks with favors playing the GMO corn card: Farm Advisors, the banker, the insurance broker, the incentives and subsidies from the USDA, and, most of all, the folks at the coffee shop. Channels carrying independent information for wise long-range economic decisions are drowned out by a culture driven by a lot of money and peer pressure and sometimes by threats from the seed monopoly to go along or face the possibility of not being able to source nonGMO seed. It takes courage for a farmer to buck such forces. Critical thinking is required to weigh the longer term costs and benefits related to resistance and social and economic benefits for the farmer, the environment and consumers.

Eating GMO Corn

AND meanwhile American families have been kept in the dark for the past decade eating increasing amounts of Bt corn—sugar flakes and KIX, pancake syrup, snack bars, chips, tortillas and tamales, cornbread, soft drinks, ice cream and starting this year, fresh, frozen and canned corn. Bio Ag Biotech and the FDA say Bt gene in the corn we eat is destroyed during digestion and it’s never made anybody sick, but no safety tests have been done. Steven Druker’s Altered Genes, Twisted TruthHow the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public documents the suppression of GMO food safety concerns of scientists within the FDA.

So, how DID Bt toxin end up in the the blood of over 90% of pregnant women and over 80% of fetal cord blood in that study in Canada? What IF the Bt gene that makes the toxin that eats holes in caterpillar guts transfers to human gut bacteria, engineered moreover into the corn genome so the “on switch” to make the toxin is always turned on? What HAPPENS if Bt toxin is being continuously produced in our guts by our own bacteria? There is no barrier between the mother’s blood and the fetal brain. Bt toxin could be eating holes in the developing brain matter of the unborn.

We Aren’t Keeling Over in Large Numbers, But…

The Biotech industry says the food is safe because there has not been one person drop dead yet from eating it.  One question that comes to my mind however is the reported steady rise in gut problems in the US.  Dr. Robyn Bernhoft, M.D. recently spoke at an educational forum at Ventura College. He said, “The reason people get autoimmunity, or allergies, or asthma, frequently, is gut problems. The animals fed GMO corn and soy all have problems with their gut. They have breakdown in gut integrity, they have food leaking into their bloodstream, they have thickening of the lining of their gut that looks to some pathologists like precancerous lesions. When humans get breakdown of the gut integrity they start absorbing partially digested food into their bloodstream. The immune system has to deal with that… This is where the tremendous rise in allergies comes from.”

One expert in bowel problems observed a direct relationship between escalating digestive symptoms and increasing test loads of fructose. It was not in the report, but the fructose was probably made from GMO corn. I wonder how closely the consumption of high fructose corn syrup relates to digestive problems on the rise, like Celiac disease, acid reflux, GERD, colitis and Crohn’s? Soy allergies are also increasing associated with digestive issues (not to speak here of the other varied reproductive problems, infertility, and implications for SIDS). Over 90% of the soy in food is engineered to be Roundup Ready and contains unsafe levels of Roundup that has recently been linked to mammary tumors, kidney and liver problems, and premature death in the first ever long-term peer reviewed study. Autistic spectrum disorder parallels the rise in GMOs in the US diet. The gastrointestinal lining of children with autism has abnormal appearing villi similar to those in rats fed genetically engineered feed.  See what Jeffrey Smith has compiled about the connections between autism and GM foods.

The cost of Bt corn to public health needs to be examined. A recent study suggests that Bt toxin probably has the ability to eat holes in animal and human intestinal lining as it does in the insect gut. It was shown that Bt toxin in a dish with human cells pokes holes in them, causing leakage of cell contents, the same mode of action that kills the caterpillars. See Dr. Galland’s post about types and causes of leaky gut where undigested food particles go into the blood and lymph systems?

Doctors are saying patients get better when they stop eating GMOs. Leaky gut syndrome is associated with allergies, autoimmune disorders, inflammation, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and autism. When the Bt gene is engineered into every cell of every kernel of corn and then it is eaten by animals and humans throughout every day, Monsanto has taken Bt to a very scary level. There have been no safety studies, BUT doctors are just starting to talk about GMOs, and especially corn products. While Americans are blindly eating Bt and Roundup Ready corn and having more digestive problems that underlie related diseases that are on the rise, the producers of GMO corn-based food products are spending over $44 million to try to defeat a California ballot initiative to require labeling of the food. In the European Union where GMOs have been labeled for years, seven countries – Austria, Hungary, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Germany and Bulgaria have banned Bt corn.

DNA and mRNA in the Food Chain Affects the Consuming Organism

There was no economic or practical reason for agriculture to go down this dangerous path. The pests that evolved with natural corn can be managed with the natural enemy complex that evolved with those pests. Organisms that eat corn, from caterpillar to human, have evolved in physiological systems involving thousands of metabolites in a corn plant and in what eats the corn plant. As it turns out, new research about micro RNA suggests that the human body is affected by the genes of the plants we eat. We want to apply the precautionary principle to halt genetic manipulation of food and animal feed until the implications are known. It is well within the farmer’s means to grow corn that respects the elaborate relationships in the biochemical and physiological makeup of the corn and organisms that eat corn.

Vote for Labeling and Vote with Your Food Dollars (Ways to Avoid GMO Corn)

We have been fighting for over a year to achieve regulations that honor our right to know if the Bt gene was engineered into corn and corn-based foods. Until labeling happens, we encourage you to do your best to stop eating Bt corn. It’s easy to avoid high fructose corn syrup with many alternative sweeteners. There are other delicious and inexpensive grains and starches, like rice, oats, barley, millet, amaranth, tapioca, pumpkin, winter squash and root vegetables. As time passes that you don’t eat GMO foods and your gut lining starts to heal, it should be safe to eat more wheat again without the risk of undigested gluten protein passing into the bloodstream causing allergic responses.

We love corn, so we buy from local farmers who protect their corn from contamination by Bt gene. Since we don’t eat meat, we don’t think about the increasing amount of GMO fed to livestock, and we do invest in only organic dairy and eggs. We are OK with the limit for organic food being .9% GMO contamination. It’s easy to find reasonably priced organic corn chips, but organic or NonGMO Project Verified corn tortillas are hard to find.  La Guera Tamalera-White Girl Tamale Maker sells everything on-line out of LA to make organic non-GMO tamales!  Trader Joe’s has organic polenta that isn’t expensive. It is a bit of a challenge, but not really difficult to avoid GMOs and it does not have to raise your food budget. Moms for Safe Food is a resource. Just plan to prepare more whole foods, less processed foods, and make room for a few organic versions of corn and soy foods you really like by reducing meat, junk food, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages that aren’t that healthy anyway!

Buying organic and nonGMO corn products supports those farmers using the proven safe natural biological farming methods. Vote with your food dollar for nonGMO biological corn production.

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We Don’t Need GMO Cotton

This is a story about why we do not need genetically engineered cotton. GMO cotton has bacterial genes inserted into the cotton plant genome with the “on-switch” gene permanently turned on so every cell of the cotton plant continuously produces pesticide. Bt cotton produces 10,000 times the amount of Bt toxin that would be sprayed on the crop.

I know something about pest control in cotton. My entomologist/applied insect ecologist Dad, Everett (Deke) Dietrick, had me learn to drive in cotton fields. I dropped him on one end of a field and picked him up at the other end so he could monitor the insect ecology through the field. He did research at the University of California on biological pest control. He quit the University because the pesticide companies pressured the University to make sure nothing relevant was done or published about biocontrol. He set up an insectary business — growing a tiny wasp that kills cotton bollworm eggs. He was successful. Cotton growers in Coachella and Imperial Valley’s stopped spraying pesticides and sales of pesticides went down.

Scientists from the Soviet Union heard about his success. He had an open door policy and they came to visit. The Soviets learned and improved on Deke’s biological control program and applied it in a string of 80 insectaries throughout the cotton producing region covering six Central Asian countries. A couple decades later I was invited by the World Bank and by Mercy Corps to go to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to help the people who took over those insectaries to privatize them. I took this photo in a biofactory in Turkmenistan where they were growing Habrabracon hebetor as a second line of defense for cotton bollworm to back up the Trichogramma releases.

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I saw that they knew what they were doing and the system worked great, just like it did in Coachella and Imperial Valleys 30years earlier before the pesticide companies helped the pink bollworm move into the area (pesticide sales went back up). Bayer pesticide company sales reps in Turkmenistan were pushing pyrethroid pesticides. The pest control experts knew that would cause terrible secondary pest outbreaks and get them on the pesticide treadmill. They knew pesticides would mess things up. Their focus was on sales numbers verses helping the farmers.

The Soviets proved in a huge area of central Asia, what my father had proved earlier–that it is possible to manage all pests of cotton, including cotton bollworm and tobacco budworm, in those two regions without pesticides. Meanwhile we watched as genetically engineered cotton was introduced with the Bt toxin engineered into the DNA of the plant. We knew that it is absolutely not necessary. Bt cotton was not created to solve an agricultural problem or bring a better technology. The best technology, natural biological control, was known and systematically destroyed. Bt cotton was created solely to increase profits for Monsanto.

Farmers have been and are being denied access to knowledge about cost-effective methods because pesticide companies literally burned the books on biocontrol. Monsanto and friends (that bought up all the seed so they can engineer the genomes and patent them) profit from pushing Bt seed on farmers that don’t return benefits. They control the universities and much of the farm press. Natural methods aren’t patentable, and do not provide a profit margin that allows us to do competitive marketing. Farmers need a strong desire to transition off pesticides when they don’t really have strong support from the universities. Farmers who are in a learning mode can do it.

Farmers and consumers: stop falling for the biotech lie that society needs the GMO seeds they are manipulating and patenting. Since government regulators are in biotech’s pocket, all we can do is reduce our use of what they have to sell. Stop buying GMO cotton – buy organic cotton, hemp, linen, silk, and wool or other fibers coming on the market. There is the thrift shop and creative ways to recycle fibers, like Patagonia’s Synchilla from soda bottles. With GMOs labeled, eating less GMO food is also going to have an impact. We need to boycott GMOs so we are not supporting the pesticide/GMO seed monopoly and for the sake of our health and the health of our environment.

Jan Dietrick – October 29, 2012

Everett J. “Deke” Dietrick 1920 – 2008

Everett "Deke" Dietrick

Everett "Deke" Dietrick

Our founding entomologist Everett “Deke” Dietrick died on December 23 at age 88. For over 40 years he mentored many who went on to build successful careers and businesses promoting biocontrol and sustainable agriculture. He did biocontrol research for the University of California, quit when the funding ran out (with a family of five small children including me), and began selling advice as well as growing and selling good bugs. He pioneered both the practice of ecologically based pest management and the insectary industry helping people at all stages on the path away from CCC (conventional chemical control) towards BC by NE (biological control by natural enemies).

Sometimes called the “Father of Commercial Biocontrol”, Deke inspired field advisors to identify markets and insectary teams working for Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc. to innovate mass production systems for beneficials. The goal was often to jumpstart the predators and parasites on vulnerable farms in transition and sometimes to combat a key pest. However, in many situations the main value of the beneficials was to keep farmers from killing them with pesticides. By including releases with monitoring and forecasting, he helped many farmers in over 50 crops in many countries get off of the ‘pesticide treadmill’. He helped entrepreneurs to sell biocontrol in Central America and the Mexican government to establish its network of insectaries. How his work inspired the development of the Soviet biofactories in the Amu-Darya cotton belt is a story in itself. He started D-Vac Company as a separate break-even family business to provide an international scientific standard for sampling arthropods and a tool for applied insect ecologists.

Highly regarded not just by biocontrol researchers and a counter-culture movement of farmers rediscovering organic methods, he was also honored by professionals in the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists that he helped found, and by business people in the Association of Natural Bio-Control Producers. The latter serves the industry that Deke encouraged through decades of sharing of insights and encouragement and watching employees learn, leave and start their own businesses. The insectary business was an economically independent outlet for demonstrating the value of biocontrol. Dietrick saw the Fillmore Insectary, a regional cooperative, as a more sustainable model for providing biocontrol resources to farmers.

Deke sweeping for insects 1993

Deke sweep sampling to monitor beneficial and pest insect populations, 1993

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Unlike Robert van den Bosch who published an exposé The Pesticide Conspiracy and Don Dahlston who spoke at public hearings against the malathion bait sprays for Medfly, Dietrick kept a lower profile, concerned about risking an attack on the business. He did spend hours with activists, teaching them enough to ask penetrating questions and speak out. “They were burning the books on biocontrol” was his description of the powerful influence of the pesticide industry. He said that he did what he did because there was nobody else who could do it. He also maintained that he only did things that were fun. Deke’s memoirs (to be published) tell about the mentors who prepared him for this role and the challenges he faced. More by and about him is available at dietrick obituary at rinconvitova.com.

Wearing his trademark white canvas hat shading his twinkling eyes, he was a familiar figure at the Ventura Farmer’s Market and was appreciated by so many around town for his engaging spirit. Contributions in his memory can be sent to the Dietrick Institute for Applied Insect Ecology, PO Box 2506, Ventura, CA 93002 to help edit videos of him teaching in the field. A 501c3 non-profit organization, the institute http://www.dietrick.org offers training in ecologically based pest management in recognition of what a legend he is within our field.

Lacewing Marathoners

Lacewing larvae feeding on Aphid (Photo © Rincon Vitova Insectaries, Inc.)

Lacewing larvae feeding on Aphid (Photo © Rincon Vitova Insectaries, Inc.)

An efficient green lacewing larva might consume 350 aphids, 11,200 spider mites or 3,780 scale crawlers! They are good at cleaning up eggs and young larvae of many beetles and caterpillars, mealybugs, whiteflies, thrips, leafhoppers and more without wasting time eating the whole thing. They drink the juice and toss away the exoskeleton terminating the prey before moving on. They compete in endurance as well, walking seven miles as larvae. Launch these hungry long-distance runners in pest hotspots.

To sustain these general predators, first control ants by baiting their runs or turn mounds inside out. Then cultivate habitat for beneficials. Corn stalks and sunflowers when shaken at dusk in the peak of bloom will send lacewing fluttering overhead. Borders of alfalfa and oilseed Brassicas, Beneficial Blend or Insecta-Flora seed mixes support lacewing and other natural enemies.

For more info, check out our Lacewing Bulletin on at rinconvitova.com.

This article originally appeared in our Biocontrol Beat Winter 2008 Newsletter.

Organic Methods Could Help Rescue Honeybees

Effects of pesticides on Apis mellifera, the European honeybee, is at the top of the agenda of the new California Apiary Board appointed by the Secretary of Food and Agriculture. With the spread of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), this is an extremely urgent matter to investigate. The nutritional health of the bees is also an obvious factor that might relate to CCD. This season being so dry (witness the extensive wildfires), there isn’t as much forage for the bees. Fewer summer wildflowers (and less pollen) decrease winter food reserves, which may contribute to bee die off. Corn and soybean pollen offer little nutrition for bees.

However, arthropod pests also decimate bees, probably more so when they are weakened by pesticide exposure and poor nutrition. Bee pests include varroa mites, tracheal/external mites, small hive beetles, wax moths, ants, and also other bees, wasps, bee lice, dragonflies, spiders, predatory bugs, cockroaches, earwigs and termites. As a hobby-beekeeper with an avid interest in biological pest control, I would like to recommend that the new Board look closer at the non-toxic biological controls that may protect bees from insect and mite pests. Here are some examples:

Varroa mites have been reduced with insect eating fungi (entomopathogenic). Tests by USDA with a particular strain of Metarhizium anisopliae, showed good reduction of the varroa mite with no apparent harm to the bees. Follow up studies were done with another strain that was not effective. The price for treating a hive looks like $1-$2 per hive which seems competitive for organic. Currently there is no commercial supply in US. There are producers in India that can ship to US. Production is simple on cooked rice. This fungus is used in huge quantities in North Africa to control the desert locust, and is called green muscle after the green fuzzy spores sprouting from the dead insects.

Conidiobolus coronatus is a gossamer, phantom fungus, quite unlike anything you have ever seen before. It eats a lot of soft-bodied insects but not bees (hymenoptera). It seems to be good at reducing varroa mite, hive beetle, wax moth and termite. This product is only developmental, not sold as a control. However, it is sold as an inoculant for the hive. Powdered sugar helps. A screened bottom board with a sticky plastic sheet traps mites for monitoring.

Tracheal Mite can be controlled with menthol or a combination of thymol, eucalyptus and menthol. Some trials with smoke from eucalyptus or citrus leaves showed promise for this strategy. Grease patties and powdered sugar work well. Some predator mite may be found that would live in the hive and feed on the pest mites – Hypoaspis was tried without good results.

The small hive beetle Athina tumida, North America’s newest bee keeping pest, was first discovered in Florida in the spring of 1998. The above fungi are possibilities for the larvae in the hive. The larvae drop to the soil to pupate where you can treat with insect eating nematodes, such as Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Hb). This nematode is commonly used to control white grubs in lawns. A suspension of the nematodes is sprayed on the ground around the hive and watered in.

Wax moth larvae eat the comb in weak hives or stored frames. Trichogramma, a minute parasitic wasp lays its eggs in moth eggs and the wasp larva eats the moth egg. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a bacteria that makes caterpillars sick, can be sprayed on comb before it is stored, though it is not currently registered for this use. Light traps can reduce the adult moths in storerooms.

Ants can be excluded (along with roaches, earwigs and termites) with water or oil traps on the legs of the hives. A bait of boric acid, sugar and water, placed in plastic bait stations around the hive, will be taken back to the colony where it will knock down the colony. AntPro is the best of the bait dispensers.

Roaches and earwigs are attracted to yeasty baits like beer into mechanical traps. Slug Saloon with powdered beer bait traps earwigs and sow bugs as well as slugs. To make a roach trap, coat the inside neck of a pint jar with petroleum jelly and bait with a small piece of white bread moistened with beer.

I would like to see organic protocols for beekeeping be a top priority, which is a big challenge with invading pests. Of course a well-designed hive, good forage, and supplemental feeding gives the bees a chance to take care of themselves. When pests and diseases show up, beekeepers need access to knowledge about natural, integrated treatments that don’t stress the bees. The appointment of the new bee board shows the importance for California agricultural of honeybees for pollinating, especially almonds. Do you have other angles on bee problems, tips, suggestions, or questions? I look forward to hearing from everyone interested in organic beekeeping.

Rincon-Vitova’s Roots

I’m glad we’re setting up a blog for Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc., sharing what we have learned about biological pest control. I want to launch with a post about my dad, Everett J. “Deke” Dietrick, and the circumstances that led him to go into this business.

Entomology had long been the study of dead insects and ways to kill them. During the 1950’s, pesticide companies controlled most research about pest control and researchers were (and often still are) rewarded for playing with statistics to prove that biological insect control doesn’t work well enough. In Deke’s words, “They were burning the books.”

By 1960, Deke had learned enough working on some extensive biocontrol field surveys at the University of California. Seeing no honest biocontrol projects left to work on, he quit. Instead of continuing in the research work, Deke started developing mass-production methods for beneficial insects. He soon was on call for farmers and customers, putting their doubts about predators and parasites to rest. He called himself a “free-enterpriser.”

Rincon-Vitova was always out there, promoting non-chemical methods while every other organization tried to suppress the same knowledge in order to survive. My father said, “You couldn’t get it anywhere else” referring to the field observations and successful experiences of Rincon-Vitova’s pioneering “supervised control” consultants.

Following his inspiration and his open-door policy, national and commercial insectaries were built from Mexico to Pakistan to the former Soviet Union. Today Deke is grateful to see the expanding interest in biological methods. The Association of Natural Bio-Control Producers honored him in 2005 for outstanding contributions to commercial biological control.

Watching my father at work on so many fronts while I was growing up, I understood his mission to show farmers how to control pests without poisons and nothing seemed more meaningful for me than helping him. I am so grateful to be doing what I can to expand and extend his legacy.



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