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September 2002, Issue No. 197

A monthly report on environmental and pesticide related issues

In This Issue

Announcements/Upcoming Conferences

  • Mite Named for WSU Scientist
  • Organics Symposium
  • Health & Safety
  • Forestry Education
  • ...and more!
Surviving Neglect: Bugs Inhabiting Abandoned Grapevines

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A New Standard in Organics

National Organic Program Launches in October

David Granatstein, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist, WSU

NOP LogoIn the 1990 Federal farm bill, organic farming received national recognition through the Organic Food Production Act. In order to bolster the credibility of the organic seal and reduce barriers to commerce, Congress directed the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a comprehensive and uniform national standard for organic farming. Prior to this, a variety of public and private standards had been in place. Lack of consistency among these led to public uncertainly about what “organic” really meant.

It has taken more than ten years to develop the national standards and prepare for their implementation, confirming the fears of many in the organic sector that it was best to keep the Feds out of the picture. However, with the acceptance of the final rule for the national organic standard in April 2001, the countdown to a national rule began. As of October 21, 2002 food products must be produced, processed, and handled in compliance with the National Organic Standard in order to call themselves “organic.”

The complete text of the national rule, as well as some frequently asked questions and other information, is available on the Internet at This article highlights some of the changes brought about by the new standards.

From Confusion to Consistency

Organic farming began as a philosophical approach to agriculture that preferred natural processes and products and avoided synthetic inputs. As the scale of agricultural production (including organics) grew and farmers became more removed from customers, the need for verification of the organic claim became apparent to avoid fraud and protect consumers. Organic foods generally sold for considerably more than their conventional counterparts, providing financial incentive to fraudulently sell products as organic that were not. Some states, including California, Oregon, and Washington, passed laws defining organic production and providing oversight for the use of the term. Numerous certification organizations, both public and private, sprung up to provide a needed service to the growing number of organic farms. All followed a widely accepted set of general concepts, but many differences between specific standards remained. This led to some confusion in the marketplace and created difficulties in commerce between producers and buyers who used different certifiers with different rules.

Under the National Organic Program (NOP), the use of the word “organic” as applied to food and fiber products is strictly regulated. Anyone making an organic claim about a food or fiber product must comply with the national rules. The USDA itself will not conduct certification, but will accredit certifiers in compliance with the NOP. Nearly 100 certifiers have applied for USDA accreditation, including the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Organic Food Program. Forty-two certification agencies were accredited in April 2002 including the WSDA program. Thus, in our state, those growers, processors, and handlers using WSDA organic certification will see little interruption in their operations.

WA Organic logoIn addition to having a certification program, states can also apply to have a state organic program, which gives the state the legal authority to act on the misuse of the organic claim. In Washington, we have had both a state organic law and a state certification service. Most states will not have a State Organic Program under the NOP. This does not preclude a state from acting on false advertising, mislabeling, fraud, unfair business practices or other matters where organic food products are mislabeled. States do not give up this authority just because the NOP exists. The NOP will be enforced by USDA in those states that do not have a State Organic Program. How? USDA will act on complaints and USDA-AMS compliance officers will investigate the complaints. If violations exist it will be prosecuted through USDA offices.

Organic System Plan

The national organic standard represents a significant departure from previous certification programs in a number of ways. The biggest change is the emphasis on looking at the whole system and describing it in a plan. In the past, compliance with a list of allowed materials for organic production and processing was the central feature. Now other elements such as soil and water quality, recordkeeping, and bio-intensive pest management must be demonstrated. An organic system plan, for a farm or processor, must do five things:

  1. Describe standard practices and procedures
  2. List materials intended for use during the upcoming year
  3. Describe monitoring techniques for measuring soil and water quality
  4. Describe recordkeeping system (e.g., material application, yields, sales)
  5. Describe practices used to prevent contamination or comingling (e.g., buffer strips, labeling)

The plan is just that: a plan. Deviations from the plan are allowed as long as they meet the standards. For example, if a grower has an unanticipated pest problem in a crop and did not list a particular control material for it in his plan, he can still use the material as long as it is an approved one.

The increased emphasis on soil and water within the plan are in line with the original philosophy of organic farming. However, this area is harder to regulate and certifiers have some flexibility in how they verify these issues. Soil tests, soil moisture monitoring, and use of conservation tillage are possible approaches.

Pest control has always been an issue with organic production. Use of natural materials as opposed to synthetic pesticides was usually sufficient for a grower to call her products “organic.” Under the new program, where the entire system is emphasized, a grower will need to demonstrate, through monitoring records, that she employed preventive methods such as crop rotation, resistant varieties, and mating disruption, and that these measures proved inadequate, prior to implementing pest suppression. Only when the bio-intensive, preventive pest management is inadequate can approved materials be used.

Compost and Manure

The national standard changes the way compost and manure can be used. Use of raw animal manure is restricted to 120 days preharvest for crops where the harvested portion comes in contact with the soil (e.g., potatoes, lettuce) and 90 days preharvest for crops with no soil contact (e.g., grain, tree fruit). Any compost that contains animal manure as a feedstock has to be produced under the following guidelines:

  • initial C:N ratio between 25:1 and 40:1
  • static pile 131-170 degrees F for 3 days
  • windrow 131-170 degrees F for 15 days with 5 turnings

These rules eliminate many organic soil amendments that growers have used for years. Based on the large amount of negative feedback on this particular set of requirements, the NOP is reexamining the compost requirements.

Seed and Planting Stock

Under the new standards, seeds or planting stock (e.g., garlic bulbs, seed potatoes, strawberry crowns) must be organic if available. If organic items are not available, then non-organic seeds or planting stock may be used provided the seeds are not treated with a prohibited material (e.g., fungicide seed treatment). The key question becomes the definition of “commercially available.” Certifiers will need to develop their own approach to verification as the NOP provides little guidance. Documentation may include use of seed catalogues, logs of phone calls to seed companies, and statements on invoices that an organic seed is not available. Whether price plays a role in the definition of “commercial availability” has not been determined.

The seed provision is prompting a lot of new activity in the seed industry to produce organic seeds. While choices are limited right now, that could change quickly. A big concern will be whether the organic offerings are the same variety and equivalent quality, especially if seeds are not from established companies with quality assurance track records.

Materials List

The NOP departs from most existing certification schemes in its approach to the list of approved materials. Rather than creating comprehensive lists of what can and cannot be used, the NOP declares all natural materials allowable unless they are specifically prohibited (e.g., strychnine, tobacco) and all synthetic materials prohibited unless they are specifically allowed (e.g., copper sulfate, pheromones). Thus, the determination of natural vs. synthetic becomes key. In addition, inert ingredients are also regulated, and only those on the EPA List 4 (“generally regarded as safe”) are allowed.

These principles are illustrated by the pest control material spinosad, a natural microbial fermentation product marketed as Success®. The National Organic Standards Board, which makes determinations on materials, recently ruled that spinosad itself is “natural,” but Success® contains some prohibited inert ingredients, therefore it cannot be used under organic systems. (The manufacturer is reformulating the product to meet organic standards.)

The WSDA organic program will continue to develop more detailed lists of approved and prohibited materials, including brand name lists. These will provide growers with more certainty that a specific material is or is not allowed. For example, dormant oils are allowed and widely used by organic growers. Dormant oils have been on the generic list of approved materials, but some oil products contain prohibited ingredients. The WSDA lists should help sort out this type of confusion.


Rules are now in place for the production and sale of organic livestock products. Animals must have humane living conditions and access to pasture and the outdoors. They must receive 100% organic feed. No synthetic antibiotics, hormones, or parasiticides may be used on dairy stock, poultry, and slaughter stock. If sick animals cannot be treated with organic methods, then they must be treated with other methods and removed from the organic herd.


The national standard creates four categories of organic food products, applicable primarily to processed and multi-ingredient foods.

  1. 100% Organic. All ingredients and processing aids must be organic.
  2. Organic. Must contain not less than 95% organically produced raw or processed agricultural products. All agricultural ingredients must be organic or be commercially unavailable in organic form (e.g., spices). All non-agricultural ingredients must be on the National List of allowed materials.
  3. Made with Organic Ingredients. The product must be comprised of at least 70% organic ingredients. As with the “organic” category, above, non-organic agricultural ingredients may not be from genetically modified organisms, may not be irradiated, and may not be produced with sewage sludge.
  4. Products with less than 70% organic ingredients. The term ‘organic’ may only be used with the specific organic ingredients on the information panel. There can be no organic claim on the principal display panel.

The USDA has developed a seal for organic foods. The USDA seal must not be displayed on organically produced products at retail prior to October 21, 2002. To display the USDA seal, organically produced products must have been produced and handled by operations certified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Only products from the first two categories (“100% organic” and “organic”) may display the USDA seal.

USDA-accredited certifiers may develop other seals that may be used on products in categories one through three.

Moving Forward

The WSDA Organic Food Program stayed in close contact with the USDA during the development of the national organic standard. Over the past few years, WSDA has implemented changes in its certification in advance of the NOP, thereby easing the transition for growers and processors in Washington.

There are many aspects of the national standard that remain vague, forcing certifiers to develop their own interpretation of the standards. Over the coming years, the NOP will continue to develop clarifications of the rule. These policy clarifications are posted on the NOP Web site on an ongoing basis.

Most people in the organic community are happy that the development of the national standard is over. It has been a long and often contentious process. Now we will all be watching to see how the presence of a national standard affects trade and consumer confidence in the organic products. Regardless of the outcome, organic farming has a place within the USDA and the US food system that didn’t exist a decade ago. This in itself is a positive change for organic farmers.

For more information on the National Organic Program, go to
For information on the WSDA Organic Food Program, go to

David Granatstein is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR). Based at the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center (TFREC) in Wenatchee, David is also a member of the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Board. He can be reached at

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Water Quality Improvements in the Lower Yakima River

The RSBOJC Demonstrates How Irrigated Agriculture and Water Quality Can Coexist

Joe Schmitt, Communications Director, RSBOJC

What Is The RSBOJC?

The Roza-Sunnyside Board of Joint Control (RSBOJC) was organized in 1996 to enable the Roza Irrigation District and Sunnyside Division to address shared water supply concerns and improve water resource management. Located in central Washington, the RSBOJC has jurisdiction over roughly 200,000 irrigable acres in the Yakima and Lower Yakima valleys. Crops include apples, cherries, other tree fruit, hops, asparagus, mint, grapes, beef cattle, dairies, pastures, feed corn, and more. Irrigation water for these crops comes from the Yakima River, and the water that runs off of these lands returns to the Yakima River. In total, this rich agricultural region generates over $1.3 billion annually and employs over 50,000 people.

How Did The RSBOJC Water Quality Policy Come About?

Shortly after the formation of the RSBOJC, the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDOE) completed a water quality evaluation of the Yakima River. The WDOE concluded that concentrations of DDT and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) exceeded state defined parameters and violated the standards set by the federal Clean Water Act. (Though no longer applied to crops, the pesticide DDT still enters water through sediment runoff from past applications.) Segments of the Yakima River were placed on the Clean Water Act's 303(d) impaired waterbody list, and the WDOE set target amounts for turbidity and pesticides in order to reduce these pollutants. These target amounts are based on WDOE's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analysis.

A TMDL represents the maximum amount of a specific pollutant that a waterbody can absorb without threatening humans, animals, or the environment. Because DDT and turbidity have a direct mathematical correlation to TSS in the lower Yakima River, the target TMDL levels are expressed in terms of total suspended sediment, measured in nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) (see Figure 1). (For a more complete explanation of the results, see the WDOE's report entitled A Suspended Sediment and DDT Total Maximum Daily Load Evaluation Report for the Yakima River.) The WDOE determined that all agricultural runoff returning to the Yakima River must meet a target of 25 NTUs 90% of the time by the year 2002.


Photo of vials showing turbidity


The implications of the Clean Water Act and the resulting TMDL were obvious to growers dependant on the Yakima River for irrigation water. RSBOJC leadership unanimously agreed that water quality was a primary concern and adopted an in-house water quality program designed to enforce on-farm compliance with the TMDL. In addition to promoting irrigation practices that decrease pollution, RSBOJC’s Water Quality Policy sought to enhance water conservation. Since the RSBOJC Water Quality Policy was enacted in 1997, remarkable progress has been made in the water quality of agricultural runoff to the Yakima River.

Through farmer initiative, support, and investment in different irrigation methods, equipment, and practices, water quality has improved at all RSBOJC-controlled irrigation return flow drains. Data collected at monitoring sites show that the Yakima River has already benefited from the RSBOJC Water Quality Policy. Considering the program has been in place for just a few seasons, this is a dramatic achievement.

What Specific Improvements Has the RSBOJC Made?

Overall Increase in Water Quality at Critical Monitoring Sites

Three out of four primary irrigation return flow drains (Spring Creek Wasteway, Sulphur Creek Wasteway, and Snipes Creek Wasteway) were in compliance with the WDOE's 2002 turbidity goal (25 NTU) by the close of the 2000 irrigation season—two years ahead of schedule—and have remained in compliance (see Figure 2).


Turbidity graph

90th percentile turbidity at drainage outlet sites.

Dramatic Total Suspended Solids (TSS) Improvements

As of 2001, total suspended solids (TSS) have declined over 95% in Granger Drain, decreasing from 100 tons per day to 5 tons per day. Tons per day means just that: actual tonnage of material suspended in the drain’s return flow and discharged into the Yakima River on a daily basis (see Figure 3).

In Sulphur Creek Wasteway, TSS declined 97% from 152 tons per day to 4 tons per day. Spring Creek and Snipes Creek are discharging under 3 and 1 tons per day, respectively (see Figure 3).


TSS loading graph

Median total suspended solids (TSS) loading at drainage outlet sites.

Doubling of In-Stream Flows

The RSBOJC is committed to water conservation as much as water quality. Participants have been working to improve fish and wildlife habitat for over 20 years. These efforts, before and since the formation of the joint board, have helped increase in-stream flows more than 100% since the 1970s, based on a comparison of in-stream flow data from three water-short years in the 1970s and flow data from the same number of water-short years in the 1990s. Increased flows have contributed to the record number of returning salmon this year and are beneficial to overall fish and wildlife health (see Figure 4).


River flow graph

Measured flow of Yakima River at Parker.

Dramatic Water Conservation Improvements and System Upgrades

Both the Roza Irrigation District (RID) and the Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District (SVID, one of ten Sunnyside Division entities, constituting nearly 90% of the land in the Sunnyside Division) have been upgrading their respective irrigation delivery systems since the early 1980s to increase efficiency and enhance water conservation.

Combined, roughly 18 to 20 miles of “lateral” (open ditch) has been converted into piped systems each year since 1985. Converting to enclosed conduit eliminates seepage and evaporation losses. Over $20 million has been spent on improvements in the last few years alone.

In addition to piping laterals, both districts have been automating their delivery systems. Several high-tech automated and remote control gates have been installed and integrated into each district’s new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. The gates coordinate flow throughout the conveyance system, enabling accurate, timely response to demand fluctuations across the entire system. The gates can be adjusted in increments as fine as 1/100th of a foot, which translates to roughly 2 cubic feet per second (cfs). Such responsiveness enhances conservation by ensuring efficient water use and results in less water diverted.

“The combination of these expensive upgrades and system improvements greatly enhances our ability to conserve water and optimize system delivery,” said Jim Trull, SVID District Manager. Ron Van Gundy, RID Consultant agrees. “These upgrades are absolutely critical if we want to supply water to our farmers during water-short years like 2001.”

Summary of District Accomplishments
RID Summary (since 1985)

Total Miles Enclosed (piped): 176

Total Cost: $13,420,472

Cost Per Mile: $76,253

Miles Per Year: 10 - 12

SVID Summary (since 1985)

Total Miles Enclosed (piped): 80+

Total Cost: $11,677,937

Cost Per Mile: $145,974

Miles Per Year: 5 - 7

RID Fact: Roughly 50% of total district acres have been converted to enclosed conduit.
SVID Fact: Urban location and installation complexity increases cost and reduces total miles piped.

On-Farm Upgrades

Progress upgrading on-farm irrigation methods within both districts has been equally dramatic. Since the early 1980s, roughly 60,000 acres in RID and 40,000 acres in SVID have been upgraded from rill (open furrow) application to an improved irrigation delivery system (either sprinkler or drip). This represents over 80% of total RID acres and over 50% of SVID acres. Collectively, the annual savings in water for the two entities runs in the tens of thousands of acre-feet. Van Gundy points out, “If it weren’t for the hard work and dedication of Yakima Valley farmers, we wouldn’t be even remotely close to these numbers or enjoying the efficiencies and increased water quality we are today.” On-farm irrigation delivery system upgrades average $1,500 to $2,000 per acre. An estimated 60% of all on-farm system upgrades were paid out-of-pocket by farmers.

Why Has The RSBOJC Experienced Such Unprecedented Success?

Implementing a water quality strategy as aggressive and result-driven as the RSBOJC program means developing clear and definitive guidelines to ensure success. It also means having the support of local landowners and farmers, who are instrumental in determining the ultimate outcome of the program.

Utilizing a comprehensive strategy to address water quality issues in the Yakima River basin, the framework for any project related to the RSBOJC Water Quality Policy adheres to these same basic principles:

Identification and description of the type, amount, and sources of water pollution in a particular water body or segment

The RSBOJC employs Water Quality Specialists and has established an on-site, WDOE-certified laboratory to assist in data collection and analysis.

Analysis of how much the pollution needs to be reduced or eliminated to attain water quality goals

The staff and the RSBOJC Water Quality Specialist, with the assistance of a WDOE Environmental Technician, help landowners identify and evaluate the most appropriate ways to successfully reduce identifiable point-source pollution and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs). If technical assistance is needed in developing and designing a recommended project, RSBOJC staff will refer the landowner to local agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that will assist the landowner at no cost.

Development of short- and long-term strategies to control various sources of pollution

A collaborative, ongoing effort between landowners, the RSBOJC, and specialists from government agencies such as the WDOE, Bureau of Reclamation, local conservation districts, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in place to identify strategies and develop solutions to control pollution as well as address issues of enforcement and compliance. Joint projects include the construction of settling basins, funding for the RSBOJC Wetland Pilot Project, technical and funding assistance for the Soil Moisture Probe Demonstration Project, fish surveys and habitat studies (complete texts available at the SVID website at, funding for on-farm irrigation upgrades via the RSBOJC On-Farm Loan Program, and special studies such as the recent Granger Drain fecal coliform source analysis performed by the South Yakima Conservation District.

Monitoring schedule to assess overall effectiveness of the RSBOJC Water Quality Policy and enforcement for failure to comply

In addition to data collection and analysis, a stringent review and enforcement policy is in place requiring any landowner not in compliance with RSBOJC Water Quality Policy standards to develop short- and long-term plans detailing how these issues will be addressed. Partners with farmers and landowners, RSBOJC staff supports and assists in planning and securing the resources to implement positive change.

Encouraging participation from growers, scientists, and representatives from state, federal, and tribal entities

Landowners and regulators must be in agreement on program objectives and methodologies employed to achieve those objectives. Bimonthly workgroup meetings are held where various state and federal agencies gather with growers and RSBOJC staff to discuss progress, identify projects, and draft policy issues

What Lies Ahead for the RSBOJC?

Incentive programs, landowner involvement, and government agency assistance have been key in enabling area farmers and landowners to take the steps necessary to implement BMPs and make improvements that have in turn increased water quality and conservation. “We are trying to assist our landowners and farmers by providing the education and incentives that result in improved water quality and conservation,” said Trull. In turn farmers and landowners are increasingly improving on-farm irrigation practices and employing techniques to increase water quality on their farms. “It is truly the farmers and landowners in this valley who are making this possible,” said Trull. “Their hard work, understanding, and insight is recognized and applauded.”

The RSBOJC’s primary objective now is to maintain 90th percentile turbidity levels where that standard has been met while continuing to improve water quality at locations not yet meeting the standard. For example, notable progress has been made at Granger Drain, but it remains out of compliance. Intense sampling is taking place in the entire Granger Drain hydrologic unit area this year in an attempt to better understand why. “Our job is to answer the many questions we have about Granger Drain,” said William Rice, RSBOJC Water Quality Specialist. “Then we can move forward and bring the Drain into compliance.”

Dr. Bob Stevens, Extension Soil Scientist at Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, notes that several key elements influence water quality in Granger Drain. “There are many small parcels under rill irrigation. Cumulatively, they likely have a large impact on water quality in the entire hydrologic unit area. Combine this with the extremely fine, highly erodable soil type and you’ve got part of the reason why Granger Drain is difficult to manage,” said Stevens. “Many entities are working hard to identify all the contributing parts and determine to what extent each factor influences water quality.”

Several other pollutants such as temperature and fecal coliform indicator bacteria are being monitored and analyzed in the lower Yakima River as potential TMDLs. Meanwhile, the RSBOJC continues to pursue water quality and conservation projects. "Although we've come a long way," explains Trull, "we know that this is just the beginning."

To learn more about how the RSBOJC is addressing water quality and conservation, please log on to and click on the Conservation & Water Quality tab or call the office at (509) 837-6980.

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Surviving Neglect

Bugs Inhabiting Abandoned Grapevines


Deirdre Prischmann and Dr. David James, Entomologists, WSU

Vines and Wines

In the last decade the Washington wine grape industry has exploded, producing award-winning wines, new acreage, interest, and excitement. As acreage has increased, so has the need for pest control. As we gain knowledge and perspective on the wine grape industry, our pest control strategies and recommendations evolve.

For the past two years, we have been surveying Washington grapevines to determine which pest and predatory arthropods (insects, mites, and spiders) are present, the levels at which they are present, and the effects of chemical inputs on their populations. Knowing which pests and predators are present and at what densities can aid in determining economic thresholds, developing biological control or integrated pest management (IPM) programs, and allocating resources. Toward this objective, we are gathering data from commercially managed vineyards (where pesticides were applied) as well as sites where no chemical inputs have been applied (including abandoned and wild vineyards). Eventually, we will compare the predator and pest populations in the two types of systems to investigate how pesticides affect arthropods. We are still gathering and analyzing data; the project should be completed within the next two years. This article discusses the results of our research in unsprayed vineyards.

Grape Pests of Wrath

Key pests of grapes include spider mites, leafhoppers, thrips, and mealybugs. The first three pests damage plant leaf cells, reducing photosynthetic activity and lowering crop quality and yield. Mealybugs can vector viruses and contaminate foliage and fruit with an excretion known as honeydew, which promotes mold. Spider mites and mealybugs are considered “secondary pests,” meaning that they only become problematic when their predators are killed by toxic chemicals.

“Natural enemies” such as parasitic wasps and predatory mites, insects, and spiders can suppress pest outbreaks, thereby reducing the need to use costly and potentially harmful pesticide sprays. When natural enemies are used intentionally, either through importation, introduction, or conservation, to manage pests, this is known as “biological control,” or “biocontrol.” Biocontrol can be an element of IPM, a philosophy that coordinates a wide array of pest control methods while considering economic, environmental, societal, and production issues.

Capturing Canopy Critters

We sampled fourteen abandoned or unsprayed vineyard sites in June 2001; from July to September, we sampled sixteen sites each month. Our study included grapevines from five grape-growing regions within central Washington and Oregon: Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley, lower and upper Yakima valleys, and the Mattawa area. The sites we chose were primarily abandoned vineyards or wild vines with no applied water or chemicals. Some were domestically managed, with water applied but no chemicals. Vine number and physical positioning varied considerably. Most of the sites were non-trellised and had no water applications.

We obtained data on both sedentary and more mobile arthropods by using two collection methods. For the less mobile, small, leaf-dwelling species, we took fifty leaves at each site each month. For the more highly mobile, larger, canopy-dwellers, we used a “Dvac,” a leaf blower fitted with a mesh bag and modified to suck air. We used the Dvac on only fourteen of the sites and we did not sample extremely young plants. We took one-minute Dvac canopy samples and transferred all captured arthropods into cups. We kept leaves cooled and Dvac samples frozen until we could count and identify the arthropods in the lab.




Jumping spider photo
Mite eating mite photo
Asian ladybird beetle photo
Jumping spider (Salticidae) found in Washington state vineyards.

Metaseiulus citri (a predatory mite) feeding on Tetranychus urticae (two-spotted spider mite).

Adult multicolored Asian ladybird beetle (Harmonia axyridis).

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Sampling revealed a complex of beneficial arthropods, including mites, several generalist predators, predaceous thrips, and leafhopper parasitoids. Spiders were the most abundant predators, especially lynx spiders, jumping spiders (Figure 1), and crab spiders. Several species of predatory mites (Figure 2) were sampled, including the western predatory mite (Galendromus occidentalis). True bug predators included minute pirate bugs, big-eyed bugs, damsel bugs and assassin bugs. Leafhopper egg parasitoids (Anagrus spp.) were frequently observed, as well as several kinds of ladybird beetles (Figure 3). Predaceous thrips included six-spotted thrips and black hunter thrips. Other predators included green and brown lacewings, praying mantises, and hover flies. Predator densities were generally highest in July and August (Figures 4 and 5).



Predator graph from leaf samples
Predator graph from Dvac samples

Predator densities (total number per leaf) using leaf sampling from June-Sept. 2001 in unsprayed grapevines.

Predator densities (total number per one-minute sample) using Dvac sampling from June-Sept. 2001 in unsprayed grapevines.

Of the pest species found, leafhoppers, thrips, and spider mites were the most common, although only western grape and Virginia creeper leafhoppers (Erythroneura elegantula and E. ziczac) appeared in extremely high densities. Pest leafhopper nymph populations peaked in June and August, while adult densities peaked in July (Figures 6 and 7). Although the former were only found in relatively low, non-damaging levels, Washington wine grape growers consider them significant economic pests. Spider mite populations consisted of the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae, Figure 2) and the McDaniels spider mite (T. mcdanieli). Spider mite densities were high in both the early and late season, while pest thrips and mealybug densities were relatively constant (Figures 6 and 7).



Pest graph from leaf samples
Non-predator graph from Dvac samples

Pest densities (total number per leaf) using leaf sampling from June-Sept. 2001 in unsprayed grapevines.

Non-predator densities (number per one-minute sample) using Dvac sampling from June-Sept. 2001 in unsprayed grapevines. Note that the right axis refers to number of leafhoppers, while the left axis refers to all others.

The Big Picture

Unsprayed grapevines support diverse predator populations including species not found in managed (i.e., chemically treated) vineyards. Chemical inputs intended as pest control can impact predators as well as pests. Are we unnecessarily killing the “good bugs” that might, left alone, help us control the “bad bugs?”

This study demonstrates that unsprayed grapevines support high predator and low pest populations. Our next step is to test the hypothesis that sprayed vineyards have lower predator and higher pest densities. The results of these studies may help determine future pest control advice for wine grape growers in our region.

We appreciate the support of WSU Entomology Department (especially Dr. J. J. Brown, Dr. D. G. James and lab group, Dr. W. E. Snyder and lab group), the Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research, and The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.

Deirdre Prischmann and David James are Entomologists with Washington State University. For further information on this study or other biocontrol efforts, contact them at or

Recommended Resources

Croft, B. A. and A. W. A. Brown. 1975. Responses of arthropod natural enemies to insecticides. Annual Review of Entomology. 20: 285-335.

Flaherty, D. L., L. T. Wilson, S. C. Welter, C. D. Lynn and R. Hanna. 1992. Spider mites, pp. 180-192. In D. L. Flaherty, L. P. Christensen, W. T. Lanini, J. J. Marois, P. A. Phillips and L. T. Wilson [eds.], Grape pest management, 2nd ed. The Regents of the University of California Division of Agriculture, Oakland, California.

Kogan, M. 1998. Integrated pest management: historical perspectives and contemporary developments. Annual Review of Entomology. 43: 243-270.

Lewis, W. J., J. C. van Lenteren, S. C. Phatak and J. H. Tumlinson. 1997. A total system approach to sustainable pest management. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 94: 12243-12248.

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Announcements & Upcoming Conferences

WSU Scientist Shares Name with Predatory Mite

Art Antonelli of Washington State University's Puyallup Research and Extension Center recently became the recipient of an unusual honor. Bruce Congdon, a colleague at Seattle Pacific University, named a mite after the WSU extension entomologist. “It's an honor," Antonelli said. "I'm glad it (Proprioseiopsis antonellii) was a predatory mite instead of a pest mite." Congdon was hired by Antonelli and retired Vancouver entomologist Carl Shanks a number of years ago to examine the impact of predators on spider mites in commercial raspberry fields. In the course of that work he catalogued mites he collected and named two of his discoveries after Antonelli and Shanks. The names were published earlier this year in the International Journal of Acarology.

Northwest Symposium on Organic and Biologically Intensive Farming: Advances in Research and Education

November 8, 2002  9:00am-5:30pm
Yakima Convention Center, Yakima, WA

The latest research results on organic and biologically intensive farming techniques will be presented by northwest researchers this fall at the first northwest symposium to be held on the subject.

Topics will include pest management and seeds and systems evaluations. Washington State University's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Oregon State University, Tilth Producers of Washington, and Oregon Tilth, are organizing the symposium.

The one-day "Northwest Symposium on Organic and Biologically Intensive Farming: Advances in Research and Education" will be held at the Yakima Convention Center on Friday, Nov. 8 beginning at 8:30 a.m. It will immediately precede the annual meeting of Tilth Producers of Washington that weekend in Yakima (see announcement following).

Invited keynote speakers include Iowa State University agronomist Matt Liebman discussing the latest research on weed-suppressive soils, and Chris Koopmans of the Louis Bolk Institute for sustainable farming in the Netherlands talking about nutrient recycling in organically managed soils.

An afternoon poster session will feature a variety of current projects in the region. Growers and researchers will be able to meet, discuss on-going projects, and plan cooperative efforts for the future.

The symposium will run from 9:00am-5:30pm and be followed by the Tilth Producers annual conference (see below). Cost for the symposium is $35 (including lunch). To register, contact Nancy Allen at or 206-442-7620. For more information on the event, check the conference Web site at, the CSANR site at, or call David Granatstein at 509-664-8934,

Tilth Producers Annual Conference

November 8-9-10, 2002
Yakima Convention Center, Yakima, WA

Planning is underway for this year's Tilth Producer's Conference. The theme of “The Family Farm on the Cutting Edge” will be addressed by keynote speaker John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri.  An inspiring agricultural economist and advocate of sustainable farming, he will talk about the burgeoning growth of organic and sustainable agriculture and how our hands and hearts are leading the way.  Professor Ikerd will also lead a not-to-be-missed workshop on Sunday. 

A full complement of expert workshops is planned for Saturday and Sunday.  Featured will be a special track for fruit growers as well as sessions on insect and disease analysis and control, composting and compost tea, clopyralid, soil fertility and management, pasture-raised chicken, forage, livestock, local marketing and food security, the Genome Project, the Organic Commission, legislative updates, CSAs, business aspects of farming, low-tech tools, tractor implements, and more.

For further information, see .

Health and Safety in Western Agriculture - Cultivating Collaborations

September 16 - 18, 2002  
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

The Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center and the UC Davis Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety are co-sponsoring "Health and Safety in Western Agriculture: Cultivating Collaborations". This conference will highlight common safety and health issues that are experienced along the west coast and foster the development of collaborative projects between the individuals and organizations committed to agricultural injury and illness prevention. Registration is now open! For program and registration details, please visit the conference website:

Forestry Education Opportunities

A wide range of community and professional educational opportunities are available in the Pacific Northwest. A calendar of conferences, workshops, and courses is available through the University of Washington College of Forest Resources. Interested parties can be accessed on the Internet at URL:

The following institutions and departments are among those involved in the Continuing Education Coordinating Committee for Forestry and Range. They have Web sites that may provide additional educational opportunity information.

College of Forestry
Outreach Education Office

Oregon State University

(541) 737-2329

Department of Rangeland Resources
Oregon State University

(541) 318-3772

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Oregon State University

(800) 261-7049

USDA Forest Service
Pacific Northwest Research Station

(503) 808-2135

Forestry Continuing Education
College of Forest Resources
University of Washington

(206) 543-0867

Department of Natural Resource Sciences
Cooperative Extension
Washington State University

(509) 335-2963


PNN Update

The Pesticide Notification Network (PNN) is operated by WSU's Pesticide Information Center for the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration. The system is designed to distribute pesticide registration and label change information to groups representing Washington's pesticide users. PNN notifications are now available on our web page. To review those sent out two months prior to this issue's date, either access the PNN page via the Pesticide Information Center On-Line (PICOL) Main Page on URL or directly via URL We hope that this new electronic format will be useful. Please let us know what you think by submitting comments via e-mail to Jane Thomas at

Washington Crop Profiles Available On-Line

In response to a 1998 request by the US Department of Agriculture's Office of Pest Management Policy (USDA/OPMP), each state is producing documents called "Commodity and Pest Management Profiles," or "crop profiles" for short. A list of crop profiles by state is available through a national Web site maintained by North Carolina State University. Washington State's crop profiles are also available in an easy-to-read, printable PDF format. Click on any of these buttons to see the corresponding profile.

Link to Apple Profile
Link to Barley Profile
Link to Bedding Plants Profile
Link to Beet Seed Profile
Link to Cabbage Seed Profile
Link to Canola Profile
Link to Carrot Profile
Link to Christmas Tree Profile
Link to Cranberry Profile
Link to Dry Pea Profile
Link to Garlic Profile
Link to Ginseng Profile
Link to Hops Profile
Link to Hybrid Poplar Profile
Link to Lentil Profile
Link to Lettuce Profile
Link to Raspberry Profile
Link to Rhododendron and Azalea Profile
Link to Spinach Seed Profile
Link to Sugar Beet Profile



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