Wasps vs the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter

Every wine magazine has been trumpeting the plight of the Californian Wine Industry over the past few months, comparing the onslaught of the glassy-winged sharpshooter to phylloxera in France in the late 1800s. This was a menace which could completely destroy Napa Valley, turning their vineyards into wasted fields of ruin.

And then came the wasps.

Usually wasps are things people fear - the idea of swarms of wasps roaming the hills of California would be the basis for a B-grade horror movie. Instead, the University of California is bringing in hordes of these wasps from Mexico. The Gonatacerus triguttatus wasp lay their own eggs in the sharpshooter's eggs, thus neutralizing the enemy.

wasp Professor Mark Hoddle of UCR ran a seven month study on the wasps to ensure they would not harm the environment - this involved both breeding and quarantine. Limited numbers of the wasps were released in August in Riverside County, and they will soon be releasing the wasps into other counties that have been afflicted with the sharpshooters.

The glassy-winged sharpshooter, by carrying Pierce's disease from vineyard to vineyard, has already cost wineries over $36 million dollars in damage. Winemakers and wine drinkers alike are hoping this wasp solution will prevent further damage.

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All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.