Argentine ant Linepithema Humile
The Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is one of the world’s most infamous invasive pests (Javier Chiavone / Shutterstock.com)

Press Release Provided by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation

David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County

The Department of Pesticide Regulation announced in late August that it has awarded $1.34 million in grants for research on pest control alternatives to the banned pesticide chlorpyrifos.

“Finding less-toxic alternatives to pesticides like chlorpyrifos, and promoting their adoption and implementation throughout California, is a priority, and our grant programs play a vital role in reaching those goals,” DPR Director Val Dolcini said.

The grants, awarded through DPR’s Research Grants Program, will go to the following researchers:

Dr. Mark Hoddle, UC, Riverside, “Taking Chlorpyrifos out of Citrus: Maximizing IPM of Argentine Ant and Sap Sucking Pests with Biodegradable Hydrogels, Infra-Red Sensors, and Cover Crops.” ($500,000)

Dr. Dong-Hwan Choe, UC Riverside, “A sustainable boric acid liquid bait delivery system (as alternative to chlorpyrifos sprays) for the management of pest ants in agricultural settings.” ($340,467)

Mr. David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County, “Hydrogel baiting systems for sugar-feeding ants in California grapes and citrus.” ($500,000)

“These researchers are at the cutting edge of their fields and I’m really pleased that DPR can support their efforts,” said Dolcini.

Full descriptions of each research project are available on DPR’s website.

Funding for these grants came from a one-time $2.1 million General Fund allocation to DPR for research projects that advance safer, more-sustainable pest management alternatives to chlorpyrifos. DPR previously funded three research grants for alternatives to chlorpyrifos research.

Following California’s historic decision to end use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in 2019, DPR and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) convened the Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group to evaluate potential alternatives. The work group’s report outlines actions that can further support agriculture and the health of local communities, farmworkers and the environment.

Since 2007, DPR has awarded more than $7 million in Research Grants.