Protecting your garden from invasive species

April 19, 2011

Most people realize only too late that strange new bugs are killing their garden plants, or that their favorite hiking trail is choked out with thistles. At an estimated cost of $3 billion per year to the state of California, invasive species threaten water and food security, the recreational value of wilderness areas and the value of homes.

But what exactly are invasive species? Where do they come from? How do they get to California? And how do we control and manage them?

Bug expert Mark Hoddle will explain invasive species and the economic and they cause in a free public lecture he will give at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 28, at the University of California, Riverside.

Titled "What's in Your Garden? Protecting California From Invasive Species," the hour-long lecture, followed by a question-and-answer session, will take place in Rooms D-E, University Extension Center (UNEX).

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Seating is open. Parking at UNEX will be free for lecture attendees.

"California is under constant assault from invasive species," said Hoddle, an extension specialist in in the Department of and the director of the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside. "The invaders are varied and can originate from anyway in the world, or from other parts of the United States."

The talk also will focus on some case studies affecting Southern California – the gold-spotted oak borer invasion of the Cleveland National Forest; the red palm weevil invasion of Laguna Beach; and the Asian citrus psyllid problem threatening California's citrus industry – and what UCR is doing to control these pests.

Hoddle's talk is being hosted by UCR's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS) and the Science Circle, a group of university and community members committed to advancing science at UCR and in Inland Southern California.

The talk is the second of four lectures scheduled this year. The lecture series, titled "Science & Society: Major Issues of the 21st Century," aims to boost the public's awareness and understanding of science and of how scientists work.

Other speakers in this year's lecture series are Cheryl Hayashi, a professor of biology ("Designs from Nature: A New Spin on High-Performance Materials"; May 5); and Jeanie Lau, an associate professor of physics ("Size Matters: Nanotechnology & Other Wonders in Carbon Flatland"; May 19).

Explore further: Entomologists say biocontrol of insect pest in the Galapagos Islands is a major success

More information: More information about the lecture series can be obtained by visiting

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