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From its inception as the University Farm, the University of California’s campus at Davis has attempted to reach beyond academic borders and assist practicing farmers with their crops. The role of the agricultural extension agent is strongly demonstrated in collections relating to crop pest control. Materials under this subject heading describe research done on insects and parasites: their behavior, classification, structure, physiology, and ecology, especially as they impact food production.

Several collections document various aspects of insecticide development and use in California agriculture. Early efforts to battle destructive pests through chemical means are detailed in the Freeborn papers; also included in this collection is evidence of Freeborn’s effort to organize the developing Entomology Department on the Davis campus. Extensive correspondence with chemical company consultants, farmers, and fellow entomologists can be found in the Smith, Stafford, Lange, Bohart, and Douglas papers, all of whom served as extension agents or faculty members for the University of California at Davis. In addition to the files on nematodes, spiders, mites, aphids, moths, and other pests harmful to agricultural crops, these collections also document early experimentation with chemical insecticides such as DDT, and chronicle the effects of the chemical on mosquitos, cattle, and domestic animals. The Loomis papers focus primarily on insects and parasites inhabiting food animals.

The gradual move toward safer, non-toxic methods of pest control is illustrated in two collections. The papers of Paul DeBach contain background research materials, articles, speeches, and papers detailing his pioneering work in integrated pest management and the biological control of crop pests and weeds. The papers of Stanley Bailey focus on the biological and ecological control of thrips and mosquitos in particular, and include extensive correspondence with individual growers and other researchers.

Entomological organizations and professional associations also fall into this collecting area. The Entomological Society of America, Pacific Branch Archives, contains background material for discussions on insecticide resistance, quarantine, abatement, and biological control, as well as regulation of the pesticide industry. The Northern California Entomology Club contains similar materials. Materials relating to the Pan-Pacific Entomological Society during the 1920’s can be found in the Freeborn papers.

All of the materials in this collection area are in the English language, and span a time period of 1914-1988. Collections comprise about 44 linear feet. Although the focus is on pests affecting California agriculture, some materials include international concerns. For materials relating to the history of bees and beekeeping, see collections under the Apiculture subject heading; relevant materials can also be found under the subject headings of Agriculture and Food Processing and Manufacture.

Entomology Manuscripts