Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc Biological Solutions for Pest Management

Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc., Dietrick Institute

Facilities Upgrade

Solar Electric System


Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc. goes solar - material for writing several articles

Biological Solutions for Pest Management

Our Solutions Help Your Bottom Line and the Environment

Contact Persons

Jan Dietrick, General Manager

Ron Whitehurst, Marketing Manager ron@rinconvitova.com

Corporate History

Rincon Insectary started July 8, 1959; Vitova Insectary, started December 16, 1960.

Rincon-Vitova merged March 17, 1971, Principals: Flanders, Flanders, Dietrick, Blehm


California Solar Electric

Principal - Don Campbell

Contact - Roger House 805-646-6385 roger.house@sbcglobal.net

web http://californiasolarelectric.com



Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, producer of beneficial insects adds electric power to its product line.


Innovator in developing systems for rearing insects for biocontrol, Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, now produces part of its own power.


Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, takes a step in the direction of walking its talk. For 50 years an advocate of sustainable agriculture, Rincon-Vitova has moved to produce part of its own power.


Rincon-Vitova purchased a 5 KW system from California Solar Electric of Ojai. It features 32 Sharp modules each producing 185 watts of power when the sun shines.


Press Release, December 2004

Insect Breeding Business Produces Their Own Electricity


Rincon-Vitova Insectaries -- Ventura County, CA producers of beneficial insects and advocates of sustainable agriculture for over 50 years reduce their operating expenses by investing in a 5 kilowatt (kW) solar electric system provided and installed by Don Campbell's California Solar Electric of Ojai, CA/

The Sun powered electric system consists of 32 panels covering 550 sq ft of

South-facing roof space (incidentally reducing heat load on the roof and keeping their building cooler!) Two "inverters" convert the DC direct current from the panels into usable AC alternating current which is then connected directly to the Edison meter under Edison's "Net Metering Program".

"Net Metering" means you get to subtract what your system generates from your bill and pay Edison the lower "net" amount only. The electric meter actually runs backwards!


Edison's "Net Metering Program" saves money for solar investors, reduces pollution, contributes to energy independence and reduces costly new power plant construction.

"Cam" Campbell, a licensed electrical contractor in the Ventura County area for 25 years,

is praised for his high-quality designs and solar installations as California Solar Electric.



Jan Dietrick, Gen. Mgr. of Rincon-Vitova expects her system to pay for itself in only 7 years at current energy rates. As rates go up, payback will be even sooner. Jan sees her investment as prepaying a portion of her company's electric bill. After a few years, that portion of her bill will be FREE.


Future tactics to conserve electric bills include purchasing energy efficient equipment, insulating, changing or deleting some processes. This economizing will allow the 5 kilowatt Solar electric system to supply up to 50% of her company's electric needs.


Affording the electrical investment was made easier for Dietrick by a State of California Solar Rebate Program that paid for almost half of the installed cost of the system plus tax incentives and accounting procedures reduced her investment burden further.

She wonders ."Why isn't everyone doing this?"


Rincon-Vitova Insectaries produces their own insects and markets other beneficial insects grown by other suppliers. They produce the pest-controlling insect "lacewing", fly parasites and Rhyzobius - a plant scale-destroying ladybug using energy to heat the insectaries to a comfy 80 degrees F.


The clever use of resources with money-saving benefits is evident in Rincon-Vitova's sustainable future business model. Smart approaches such as: upgrading refrigerators; grey water landscaping ; "foodscaping" edible plants for staff and beneficial bugs; voting with their dollars for solar energy independence ; planning solar hydronic heating to replace gas heating bills and assisting farmers and landscapers to get off the harmful pesticide process display Rincon-Vitova, Inc's intent to achieve a more sustainable world for all.


For more info on Rincon-Vitova , Inc.

Ph 800-248-2847 Fax 805-643-6267

Website http://rinconvitova.com  Email : bugnet@rinconvitova.com

For info on California Solar Electric:

Roger House Ph 805-640-7903 roger.house@sbcglobal.net


pictures available  sample



About 5 miles from the ocean Rincon-Vitova is ideally situated for growing bugs and using solar energy. It doesn't get too hot or too cold and the sun shines most days, except for some June gloom. In the narrow Ventura river valley, there is a 45 minute sunrise delay and sunset advance. But not much solar production takes place before 10 am or after 6 pm so no major reduction from that effect. In the rainy season it takes just a bit of heat to start the process of rearing grain moths before the body heat of millions of caterpillars maintains the process. The moths are collected and are used as a host for a moth egg parasite and as food for lacewing larva, a general predator. Morning and evening breezes breathe through the valley providing natural cooling. This cools the solar panels ensuring a long productive life, possibly 50 years. To cool the insects, doors to the cargo container rearing units are opened to the breezes.

Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc. produces lacewing - a general predator, fly parasites - part of a fly control program, and Rhyzobius - a scale destroying ladybug. Rincon-Vitova also distributes many other insects grown by other insectaries. Half of their business is in fly control and the other half is plant pest control for agriculture, horticulture and interiorscape. Rincon-Vitova grows two million flies daily as host for the fly parasites. Just down the road from Hollywood they also supply adult flies and maggots to animal handlers for movies and TV productions such as Fear Factor and CSI.


The main focus of the company is helping customers set up programs to control pests using biological control. They assist farmers (and landscapers) to get off the pesticide treadmill by making the next little step that the farmer can see himself taking. It is a slow process, but one on which an increasing number of farmers is embarking. Currently 5% of California farms are organic and it seems that at least half of the rest are trying to reduce the amount and toxicity of the pesticides they are using. Strategically, Rincon-Vitova is structuring itself for rapid growth.


Jan Dietrick, general manager of Rincon-Vitova, expects the photovoltaic (PV) system to pay for itself in seven years at current energy prices. She has little faith that future energy prices will remain as (low) as they are. She sees the investment in PV as prepaying her company's electric bill. After a few years, that portion of her bill will be free. After much consultation 3 years ago, Dietrick decided on a 5 KW PV system that would replace about 10% of Rincon-Vitova's electric usage. She planned to buy new energy efficient equipment, insulate, change or delete some processes and generally economize so that the 5 KW produced would supply close to 50% of the company's electric needs. She is well on her way to meeting that goal.


The PV system is attractive on its own merits, but the state of California had a rebate program that paid for almost half of the installed cost of the system. The current phase of the program will pay 20 to 30 % of the cost. Dietrick applied for a low interest loan (4%) from SAFE-BIDCO a funding organization that was funded by a court settlement of a suit against energy utility companies for rate gouging. She notes that tax incentives and accounting procedures further reduce the financial burden of her solar investment. She wonders out loud, "Why isn't everyone doing this?"

The 32 panels producing 185 watts each 2.7 X 5.2 feet, cover 550 square feed of south facing roof space. This reduces the heat load on the roof, keeping the building cooler, and extending the life of the roof. A platform on the other side of the roof will house the bee hive. Ron Whitehurst, marketing manager, is a hobby beekeeper.


RVI's next project will be to install solar collectors to capture the suns heat to warm its insect rearing rooms. Insects require 80 degree F heat to reproduce rapidly and stay healthy. To produce this heat RVI has used primarily gas heaters with some supplemental electric heat. This has been a burden of overhead for the company and led to problems from the drying nature of the heat and occasional failure of heaters. The planned hydronic heating, where pipes are laid on the floor of a room and covered with concrete, produces a very even heat and makes humidity control easy - just spray water on the floor.


Reducing the need for power is another strategy for increasing energy independence and decreasing operating expenses. Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, installed a new energy efficient walk in refrigerator to replace an ancient inefficient refrigerated cargo shipping container. Insulation was placed in the ceiling of some insect rearing rooms and an office area to increase heating efficiency. An office rehab will be snuggly wrapped in insulation and have double glazed windows to isolate the workers inside from outside temperatures and the traffic sounds of nearby Highway 33.

Gray water from a shower and office rehab is pumped into elevated tanks to supply landscaping with water. The landscaping is primarily food producing plants. Called foodscaping, this provides the employees with fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year. A diverse mix of mature citrus, plums, avocados, sapote, persimmon and olive provide interesting fare. Newly planted grapes, passion fruit, and kiwi promise good eating in future years. One of the plants, prickly pear, will produce leaves or pads that will be food for scale that in turn will feed a scale eating ladybug. Some non productive palms were given to a nursery which relocated them to other landscapes where they will be appreciated.


Waste products from rearing flies are composted and the resulting compost is spread around the foodscape, and offered to gardeners in the community.


RVI borders the hike and bike trail that runs from the ocean at the mouth of the Ventura, up to Ojai. A sister non-profit organization, the Dietrick Institute for Applied Insect Ecology, maintains trail side plantings of beneficial insect attracting plants. One section is habitat developed by Joe Picket of California Department of Agriculture for whitefly and the parasites of whitefly. This has been successfully used in Kern county next to cotton fields to reduce whitefly infestations - the major pest of cotton in the region. On a bank is a variety of yarrows that attract beneficial insects, hold the soil, and provide a colorful display. A section of perennial sunflowers (Jerusalem artichokes) demonstrate plants that have both attractive flowers (for insects and people) and extrafloral nectarines that support insect predators and parasites. Annual and perennial seed mixes such as Beneficial Blend and Insecta Flora can be seen in other sections.


Dietrick believes that our national energy policy is distorted with focus on fossil fuels and that individual consumers, voting with their dollars for solar energy, can shift the balance to a more sensible mix. If a small portion of the 300 billion dollars spent on the Iraq war to make the world safe for cheap oil, had been spent on solar development, we wouldn't have to turn outside of our country for our energy needs.


A use permit was in process and a building permit was blocked until a conditional use permit was completed. Supervisor Steve Bennet's office working with the planning department was instrumental in getting a permit to install the solar equipment before a state deadline. Rincon-Vitova is grateful for their help.


These are some of the steps that one company is taking on the path towards sustainability. Feel free to join the walk.

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RVI Profile


  • Produce beneficial insects and organisms designed by nature to control pests
  • Distribute organisms and supplies from reputable companies
  • Support our customers with the most current technical information
  • Donate 20% of profits to research and training activities of the Dietrick Institute for Applied Insect Ecology, a non-profit organization promoting research and training in beneficial insect conservation and biocontrol.
  • Make responsible choices in social and environmental practices; i.e., we refuse to use or recommend genetically engineered (transgenic) products - which are incompatible with sustainable agriculture and life, and we use no-frills, recyclable packaging.
  • Meet distributor needs to foster an expanding network of biocontrol experts representing the industry founded by our company over 30 years ago.


We are the oldest and one of the largest commercial insectaries and have been the pioneer in biological control since the late 1950's for a growing biocontrol industry. We maintain distinction within the industry in our development work and in our emphasis on building habitat diversity and conserving natural enemies. This ensures biological control programs that are cost-effective. Rincon-Vitova continues a 40 year record meeting the challenges of commercial standardization, government regulations and marketing in a rapidly changing environment.



We produce insects and distribute insects and other organisms reared by domestic and international producers. Our producers are skilled in their specialties and meet our quality standards. We support quality wholesalers and skilled biological pest control advisors with preferred service, technical advice and sales support. We proudly serve over 2000 large and small farms, nurseries, green houses, landscape and interior plantscapers, livestock and composting operations, hotels and resorts, zoos, botanical gardens, government agencies, many research institutions, and private residences. Our customers remember us for the vitality of our products, knowledgeable service, our friendly follow-up support and our guarantee. Our search for products that support our expanding vision of biological control has recently lead us to distribute mycorrhizal inoculants, insectary blend seed mixes, and cover crop mixes.


We give our customers reliable access to the best quality of all commercially available beneficial organisms along with practical information targeted to the customers' needs and referral to further resources. We measure our success in receiving dozens of inquiries weekly from those who are referred by professionals directly or through directories, source books, databases, publications, presentations, and exhibitions. Rincon-Vitova does not use or carry products containing or generated by genetically engineered (transgenic) organisms. We believe that genetic engineering is incompatible with sustainable agriculture and life.

We package in no-frills recyclable containers.