Ricky Lara


Ricky 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.



Ph.D. Entomology (2014), University of California, Riverside

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



  • UC Riverside Grad Division Winter Discount Fee Fellowship, 2014
  • ESA Pacific Branch 1st Place Linnaean Team, 2013
  • Robert and Peggy van den Bosch Memorial Scholarship, 2012
  • ESA Pacific Branch 1st Place Ph.D. Oral Presentation, 2012
  • ESA 2nd Place Ph.D. Oral Presentation, 2011
  • UCR Entomology Student Seminar Day 1st Place Ph.D. Oral Presentation, 2011
  • Harry Scott Smith Biological Control Scholarship, 2011
  • ESA 1st Place Ph.D. Poster Competition President’s Prize, 2010
  • Herbert Kraft Scholarship, 2009
  • Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship, 2008
  • Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate Fellowship, 2008


Current Projects 


Brown Marmorated Stink Bug


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



8. Lara, J.R., C. Pickett, C. Ingels, D. Haviland. E. Grafton-Cardwell, D. Doll, J. Bethke, B. Faber, S.K. Dara, and M. Hoddle. 2015. Developing a biological control program for brown marmorated stink bug in California.Calif Agr. (Submitted)

7. A. Why, J.R. Lara, and W. Walton. 2015. Ovipositional responses of Culex tarsalis differ to water conditioned by piscine biological control agents and predatory aquatic insects. Med Vet Entomol. (In Review)

6. Lara, J.R., and M.S. Hoddle. 2015. Comparison and field validation of binomial sampling plans for Oligonychus perseae (Acari: Tetranychidae) on Hass avocado in southern California. J Econ Entomol 108: 2074-2089.

5. Lara, J.R., and M.S. Hoddle. 2015. Past, present and future: Biological control of spider mites on California-grown avocados, pp. 271-308. In D. Carrillo, G.J. de Moraes, and J.E. Peña (eds.), Prospects for biological control of plant feeding mites and other harmful organisms. Springer, New York.

4. Lara, J.R., and M. Hoddle.2013. Sampling guidelines for persea mite in California avocado orchards. Calif Avocado Soc Yearb 95:151-173.

3. DePalma, E. D.R. Jeske, J.R. Lara, and M.S. Hoddle. 2012. Sequential hypothesis testing with spatially correlated presence-absence data. J Econ Entomol 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. Integr: Math Theory Appl 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). Biol Control 55:126-131.




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