University of California, Riverside

Applied Biological Control Research

Ricky Lara

Ricky LaraRicky Lara, Ph.D
Postdoctoral Scholar
(951) 827-4360

Ricky joined the Hoddle laboratory in 2008 as a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Entomology. His academic interests revolve around acarology, agroecology and integrated management of economically important pests in agriculture. This committed appreciation of acarology and service to agriculture was fostered by his undergraduate research apprenticeship while working with the beneficial phytoseiid Galendromus occidentalis and the phytophagous spider mites Tetranychus pacificus and Eotetranychus willamettei in California vineyards.


B.A. Environmental Science (2008), University of California, Berkeley



  • Entomological Society of America President’s Prize, 2010
  • Herbert Kraft Scholarship, 2009
  • Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate Fellowship, 2008
  • Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship, 2008

Current Projects 

Persea Mite

Persea Mite
Development of Binomial Sampling Plan for Persea Mite On Avocado


Research Interests

At its core, the focus my work is to promote the compatibility of biological and chemical methods of control in agricultural systems. Currently, I am working on updating and reinforcing the integrated pest control program against persea mite, Oligonychus perseae (Acari: Tetranychidae), that infests Southern California avocado orchards. My first objective is to develop a presence/absence sampling plan for growers so they can make quick and statistically reliable estimates of pest densities throughout the growing season to guide spray application decisions. This sampling method will reduce unwarranted pesticide applications because growers won’t overestimate mite numbers and spray unnecessarily, a situation that commonly occurs because of the difficulty of counting mites on avocado leaves.

Furthermore, I plan on assessing the risk that novel pesticides being developed for persea mite control pose to beneficial predatory mite populations that attack persea mite on avocado leaves. By reducing pesticide use and conserving the presence of predators, we expect to enhance the avocado orchard ecosystem’s capacity for self-regulation of persea mite by making better use of natural enemies for pest control. I will take the latter a step further by finding natural enemies that have co-evolved with persea mite in its native range and evaluate the biological control potential of other predators currently present in California.

Professional Presentations

  • Lara, J.R. and M.S. Hoddle. A simple sampling plan for persea mite in avocado orchards. California Association of Pest Control Advisers Meeting. Santa Paula, CA. November 10, 2010.
  • Lara, J.R. and M.S. Hoddle. 2010. Development of a sequential binomial sampling plan for Oligonychus persea (Acari: Tetranychidae) on avocado. Entomological Society of America 58th Annual Meeting. San Diego, CA, December 2010.


3. DePalma, E. D.R. Jeske, J.R. Lara, and M.S. Hoddle. 2012. Sequential Hypothesis Testing With Spatially Correlated Presence-Absence Data. Journal of Economic Entomology 105: 1077-1087.

2. Li, J.X. D.R. Jeske, J.R. Lara, and M. Hoddle. 2011. Sequential hypothesis testing with spatially correlated count data. Integration: Mathematical Theory and Applications 2: 269-284.

1. Stavrinides, M.C., J.R. Lara, and N.J. Mills. 2010. Comparative influence of temperature on development and biological control of two common vineyard pests (Acari: Tetranychidae). Biological Control 55:126-131.

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Applied Biological Control Research
Department of Entomology

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